Marketing has long prided itself on its ability to produce creative advertising campaigns that win over large groups of customers. In recent years, however, the focus has turned to presenting smaller groups of consumers with more targeted offers based on their personal preferences.
Analyzing so-called Big Data – especially the kinds of unstructured information found on digital channels – is a key part of creating these more personalized campaigns.
"Data-driven marketing is not new, but Big Data really shines the light on marketing because it presents a huge opportunity to better understand the customer," said Wes Moore, vice president, Integrated Marketing Management Solutions, for Teradata. "With Big Data, marketers can go from qualitative approach to a more quantitative one."
A survey conducted by Teradata Applications, a division of Teradata, shows that marketers understand the importance of Big Data analysis, with 71 percent of respondents saying they plan to implement a Big Data analytics solution in the next two years. While almost 50 percent of marketers agree that data is the most underutilized asset in their organization, less than 10 percent say they currently use the data they have in a systematic way.
Marketers will need help from IT personnel, coworkers with whom they traditionally haven't enjoyed a close relationship, to help them solve some of their key Big Data challenges.
For instance, 42 percent of marketers say “lack of processes to bring insights into decision making” is their primary barrier to using data in decision making. IT can help, with projects that automate data quality, performance management and marketing workflow processes. More than 80 percent of survey respondents expect to implement or at least begin these kinds of initiatives in the next two years.
Process is the key to making insights actionable, Moore said. "You have to be able to effectively act upon data. If data shows you all of these new opportunities but you are unable to act upon them, it's frustrating."
Another data-related project for which IT can partner with marketing involves differentiating between "systems of innovation" and systems of record, Moore said, noting that much of digital data is only needed on a short-term basis.
"IT and marketing have an opportunity to align by determining which data is only temporary and which needs to be more permanent," he said. "Then IT can determine the appropriate technology strategy – which technologies are most appropriate for handling the temporary data vs. trying to jam everything into the system of record."
IT can also assist marketing by helping marketers gain a more unified view of their customers. While obtaining a single, integrated view of customer activity across multiple channels is a top priority for marketers, just 18 percent of survey respondents say they currently have this capability.
"Marketers use a plethora of tools, so their information and their technology tend to be very siloed," he said. "IT can help integrate all of that."
Data integration should also make it easier to calculate a return on investment for marketing initiatives, something that three-quarters of survey respondents say poses problems for them.
Ann All is the editor of Enterprise Apps Today.