Derrick Martins

5 Nuggets from “The Big Data-Driven Business”

The Big Data Driven BusinessThe Big Data-Driven Business: How to Use Big Data to Win Customers, Beat Competitors, and Boost Profits, written by Russell Glass and Sean Callahan, is an easy-to-read introduction to Big Data and its impact on businesses.  Throughout the book, you will find practical tips for how to “get started” with everything from understanding your customers to measurement, testing, attribution and predictive modeling.  Though useful for anyone interested in learning about Big Data and its application, the book is primarily written for Marketing and Business minded individuals rather than those more technically focused.

Here are 5 nuggets taken directly from the book:

  1. What is Big Data?

In a narrow sense, Big Data is the incredibly fast analysis, enabled by increased processing speeds and cheaper storage, of massive sets of unstructured data to find previously unavailable insights.

In a larger sense, Big Data is the lattice of computers, mobile phones and other digital devices that create streams of data that organizations can analyze to gain actionable insights.

  1. Marketing Must Partner With IT

To take advantage of Big Data, Marketers must now understand IT or at least work hand and hand with the department.  Where the CMO and the CIO work well together, the enterprise is 76% more likely to outperform in terms of revenue and profitability.

  1. Think BIG but Start Small

Data big, small and otherwise can be a complex undertaking.  Start small with a pilot program or two.  Fail fast and identify sticking points quickly to make the current project better and future projects even better than that.

The key to getting Big Data right in your company is not to get bogged down with the concept of Big Data. Start by identifying the needs of your customers and your business.  Also, think small, focus on the parts of data you think can change your business for the better, not on the entirety of the data available to you. Keep in mind the old proverb, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.

Starting small makes sense for several reasons.  First, it won’t tax your technology budget.  Second, it enables you to build the processes around Big Data slowly and in a controlled fashion.  Third, it gives you the opportunity to have small wins using data that can ultimately earn you buy-in and future budget allocations from the decision-makers.

  1. What Questions Do You Want Your Data to Answer?

Focus on the customer to determine what questions you want your data to answer.  The best companies have a data-driven focus on the customer.  These companies use data to understand their customers which in turn gives them a better understanding of prospects. A key to using data efficiently is to know what you want to know about your customers and prospects — look for the signal amid the noise.  Knowing their attributes and how they behave online can move the needle when it comes to revenue and profits.

The most important thing when you’re dealing with Big Data is “what are the questions you’re trying to answer”.  When targeting prospects, what are their important characteristics: their company size, geographic location, job title or job function, industry?  When prospects visit the website, what behaviors indicate a readiness to buy?  Downloading certain whitepapers, viewing product data sheets, spending time on the pricing information?  When analyzing customers, what characteristics do your best customers have in common and where can you find more of them? What behaviors indicate a likelihood of customers switching to a competitor and what steps can you take to retain them?

  1. Five Steps for Cleaner Data

Database quality now has an unprecedented impact on the success of Big Data initiatives. To ensure that these databases are as productive as possible, Marketers must maintain good data hygiene.

Five steps for cleaner data:
1) Make sure your data entry team is keying in data accurately in the first place.  Make the data entry team a priority.

2) Incentivize your sales team, call-center squad and other customer facing employees to regularly request updated contact information and other data from the customers they encounter.
3) Use available software, such as Trillium, to streamline the process of cleansing, correcting and updating email and postal addresses.
4) Allow customers access to their records so they can help keep them accurate.  Consider offering discounts as an incentive for customers to participate.
5) Regularly contact customers, either via phone or email, to update records.  This approach is critical with the most important accounts.

Interested in reading the book, you can find it here.

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