At NextPage, we love data, and we think Big Data rocks. For a lot of our customer sometimes the size of those rocks can seem a little crushing. The amount of data we are collecting these days can be overwhelming. In Part 1 of this series, we discussed creating objectives, defining what you are trying to achieve thru the use of Big Data. The information in this Part 2 will help you delineate and prioritize the information at your fingertips.
Eliminating the noise.
With the increased technical capability to gather and store data, the exploding amounts of data shared on the internet and faster processing times, you can easily and quickly collect vast amounts of structured statistical data (how many units purchased) and unstructured data (how those units were regarded) relating to your clients and potential clients.
But just because you can; doesn’t mean you should. Unfortunately, unimportant data seems to be growing much faster than relevant data, and many marketers are drowning it out. We like to say they end up with paralysis of analysis. Donald Hinman, SVP with Epsilon Data Services says that when assessing data, you must examine it in terms of The Four vs. “You can readily determine the volume, velocity and variety of data, but the more important question, and the more difficult to determine is, ‘What is the value of the data? Is it worth looking at? What insights will it help you gain?’”
Dan Soschin, VP of marketing at Ultimate Medical Academy in Tampa, Fla., says that having a clear objective is instrumental to success. From his perspective, Big Data enables more personalization for marketers to create better user experiences for future and existing customers.
“This extends into all aspects of the customer lifecycle – advertising, acquisition, nurturing, selling, fulfillment, loyalty, and so on,” Soschin says. “More data points enable organizations to fine tune each of these experiences by better knowing their customers.”
The solution for paralysis of analysis is to first have a clear understanding of your objectives. “As a marketer, I endeavor to understand first what my objective is, then how I will measure my campaigns against that objective before I ever launch the campaign,” Soschin says. “In other words, I would not run an advertisement or marketing campaign without first knowing what my goal is and how to measure the results against that goal.”
Staying in tune
American Public University uses data to stay in tune with their students from enrollment through graduation and beyond.
“We focus on the entire lifecycle of the student. We’re an online, data-driven university; we codify everything,” says Sebastian Diaz, AVP of Marketing Analytics and a former college professor of statistics. “What zip code students are from, how often they log on, when they log on – it all has value when it comes to ensuring the ongoing success of our students, and that has huge implications for us. We care about what happens to our students after they enroll, so we use predictive analytics to identify and address potential problems that may prevent student success. We are proactive. We target at-risk students and then provide those students the added support they need to graduate.”
Whether you need to fine-tune your marketing or stay more in tune with your clients, the right data used appropriately can transform meaningless prattle into a resounding melody