Are Companies Really Ready for Big Data?

Data Servers

Data ServersAt RBM we’ve always believed there is magic in the data. Companies that have dominated the online space – Google, Facebook, Amazon, Yelp – are successful because they realize that through data lies the pathway to better digital interaction. Many experts now predict that the proliferation of Big Data will eventually create the opportunities that will get our stagnant global economy moving again.

Think about it. One day, with the help of Big Data, marketers could create an online brand experience that is so personable, seamless and non-invasive that customers prefer it to visiting a brick-and-mortar location. You will be able to know your online customer better than if they were sitting across from you.

The problem is that from long-tail keywords and cookie analysis to social listening and mobile geo-targeting, the data sets get bigger and bigger each day. The amount of data flying through the internet is so huge that the Obama administration is investing millions in fiber-optics technology that Jeremy Rifkin says will act as the “powerful new infrastructure for a Third Industrial Revolution.” (Rifkin, 9/25/2011)

So what are you doing about it? Does your company have the tools to collect and interpret the rising tide of insights? Can you adequately collect, interpret and act on trends fast enough to beat the competition? If you answered no, you’re not alone. A study conducted by IBM revealed that 71% of CMOs do not feel adequately prepared for the coming data explosion. (Dawson, 10/25/2011).

Thankfully our clients hire us to geek-out on such issues so they can sleep easier at night. Here’s a list of four suggestions for the CMO who wants to stay on top of Big Data in 2012.

  • Invest in Integrated Data Technology – A flexible data and analytics technology is a must for anyone running complex, integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels like search, display, social, email and mobile. By investing in the integrated view, you’ll maximize limited resources and empower yourself to make faster optimization decisions about spend, allocation and attribution.
  • Re-Think Who You Hire – It’s one thing to have access to data, it’s another thing to interpret and make strategic marketing decisions based on what you can see in the data. This is no easy task, but as a CMO you’ve got to hire individuals who can take data and turn it into a compelling brand story that truly resonates with your target audience.
  • Personalize Your Digital Ecosystem – Focus on using data from the social graph and other places to create as much customization as possible. In other words, the micro-segmentation on outbound marketing communications like email, social media and display that most of us do today must also expand elsewhere. It’s no longer effective to have one universal homepage or web portal that is the same for every visitor.
  • Keep an Eye on Privacy and Security – Everything from legal policy statements to your current security infrastructure needs to be reworked with social media and data collection in mind.  Consumer trust in Big Data has yet to reach a tipping point—many Internet users are still wary of declining privacy and anonymity online.

If you’re as excited for Big Data as we are, be sure to follow RBM on Twitter @RedBricksMedia for the latest updates and info.

About Peter Vaughan

Peter Vaughan is the Director of social media at RBM, a digital marketing agency based in San Francisco. Peter holds a BA in Literature from the University of Virginia and began his career with RBM in 2006. Present and past clients of this San Francisco digital marketing agency include Sony, Hitachi, PayPal, Adobe, VEVO, Seagate and Vogue. At RBM Peter built a reputation as an award-winning copywriter in multiple forms of online media including email, banner, SEO, websites and PPC. Since then he has developed and managed effective marketing campaigns on emerging web channels like Facebook and Twitter.



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