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Big Data and Today’s Marketers

I recently read an article on Information Week about the common lack of big data skills among marketing professionals. As a marketing professional myself, I can attest to the truth of that statement. Even if you have very little knowledge of marketing practices, you might be familiar with the 4 Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. These are all factors of the traditional (but ever expanding) marketing mix which help marketers to get their message across and oversee the exchange of the value between ends – often a business’s product or service in exchange for the consumer’s time and money. ROI is the name of the game. If we invest a certain amount of time and money, we expect it to yield a certain amount of profit. The business can be somewhat shortsighted in that way.

Many marketers look to see if their current campaigns will help them meet their goal for the next quarter or the end of the year. The reason big data and marketers aren’t common companions is that it’s very hard to measure ROI on all that data if you don’t know how to use it properly. Then, if you were to hire a consultancy to interpret your data for you, it’s hard to tell how much value the business is gaining if results can’t be seen rather quickly or if there’s some other whim of a hindrance like time or budget constraints.

But, big data analytics isn’t some magic key that will suddenly make people buy more of a product. Rather, it’s an essential part of the strategic arsenal to help direct efforts more accurately and effectively. It’s like putting a laser guide on a bow and arrow. Providing other factors in the marketing mix don’t cause drastic turbulence and steer the arrow off course, that guide makes hitting the target easier.

To assuage some of the issues modern businesses face with a lack of data interpretation skills among marketing professionals, many universities have begun developing marketing analytics degrees. These degrees walk the line between data gathering and decision-making. It seems likely that in the future, marketing teams will commonly be split along the lines of advertising agencies – only instead of creatives and account planners, there would be analytics and strategy people. As big data gains more credence and proven results, there is no doubt that businesses will begin to view it as an essential element in their organizations – perhaps even creating new departments. One thing is certain though; the next generation of marketers is going to get much more savvy.

– Guest Blogger: Tiffany Scurlark, Marketing Coordinator – StatSlice Systems

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