Big Data In 2014: The Year That Fuels Actionability For Marketers

Written on
Jan 20, 2014 
Jeff Seacrist  |

ADOTAS — Big data isn’t a new concept for marketers. Companies collect and store massive amounts of data every day – often more than they need or know what to do with. But as the data continues to grow, marketers are still searching for new ways to collect the right data, gather insights and take action – all within a very short window of opportunity to engage a prospect or customer.

As processes and technology improve, new trends will emerge. Marketers will take steps to better use big data to both understand their target markets and also take action on that data to engage with consumers. As 2013 comes to a close and we usher in 2014, a new era of big data will emerge: actionability.

Here are five big data trends that we will see in 2014 that fuel actionability in marketing:

1. Marketing and IT will work together again. In the past, there have been many predictions about marketing overtaking the IT department in both technology budget and influence, but in 2014 the need for both departments to work together will become even more acute. The marketing technology landscape is expanding at a rapid pace, which will fuel the need for proper data collection as well as an integration of all of these systems to capture the right information. This means marketing will lean on IT for systems support and integration and IT will rely on marketing for execution.

2. Big Data initiatives become user-case driven rather than technology driven. Today, big data is an IT-driven project and most organizations are still focused on getting the technology in place. If you really dig in, there are often no real use cases driving the strategy. Marketing will take a leadership role in defining the use cases for that data so they can ensure the technology supports it – not the other way around.

3. Data discovery becomes more accessible. Currently, data discovery often exists solely in the hands of data scientists, limiting the ability of the organization to explore the depth and breadth of the data. As technology becomes easier to use, data discovery will expand beyond analysts and data scientists, enabling marketers themselves to explore, discover, and act on customer insights to drive business results.

4. Data collection strategy will be revisited. Today, data collection is often dictated to an organization by analytics vendors – deploying tags to ensure data is collected to populate reports. But that approach doesn’t always provide marketers with the ability to collect the data they really need. Moving forward, marketers will require free reign over the data they collect and explore, which will require revisiting current data collection approaches to ensure the right insights are collected at the right time. In 2014, a tagging strategy will become a true data strategy, not simply a requirement to populate reports.

5. Live, contextual data will supplement batch, historical data. For years, marketers have relied on historical data to drive action, often after a consumer has disengaged from the brand. In 2014, marketers will truly be able to market ‘in-the-now’. Data will become immediately accessible to the organization and that live data will be combined with historical data, which will allow marketers to provide a relevant, contextualized customer experience at the exact moment needed.

Looking into 2014, this will become the year of contextual, personalized marketing in real-time – and that will be fueled by big data. As organizations iron out the big data process, they will move beyond the collection phase and evolve into an era of action. This is a game changer for both marketers and consumers. Marketers will be able to use the right data to provide the right experience and consumers will get what they want from brands.

Jeff Seacrist is VP of Product Strategy at Webtrends. He is s responsible for ensuring that Webtrends solutions effectively meet our client's ever-evolving digital marketing needs. An early pioneer and recognized leader in web analytics, Jeff joined Webtrends in 2000, launching one of the industry's first SaaS solutions for digital intelligence.

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