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Is Big Data Demystifying the Marketing Industry?

Marketing has always been mostly art, barely science. In fact, few people realize how much genius marketing schemes (con games?) have molded the face of modern life. “Hallmark Holidays” like Father’s Day and Mother’s Day dictate what families do two Sundays each spring, generating the notable greeting card maker an estimated $4 billion per year. Diamonds are forever, right? Hence, suitors are guilted into forking over three months’ pay for a diamond engagement ring to prove their undying love — which was all started with a really clever marketing scheme by De Beers diamond company when sales faltered during the Great Depression.

Bottled water, underarm shaving for women, and P.T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth, all these have one thing in common: they began as brilliant marketing schemes by innovative thinkers and evolved into an integral part of modern life.

In comes big data. Companies no longer depend on a flash of brilliance from their marketing staff to generate sales. It’s all in the data. Companies know who’s ready to buy, what they’re ready to buy, what they’re willing to pay for it, and if they’re willing to wait longer to save on shipping costs. Marketing is no longer a game of razzle-dazzle ideas; it’s just another science.

How Big Data Benefits Companies Better Than Innovative Marketing

Do your customers always know what they want before you show it to them?

Is this a bad thing? Definitely not. How many marketing plans failed for every P.T. Barnum circus, Gillette razor, and Hallmark greeting card that hit it big? No one knows, because history doesn’t generally keep track of the ones who do nothing notable. Big data levels the playing field. You don’t need a crack team of marketing geniuses to develop a successful marketing plan; all you need is the ability to gather, analyze, and generate predictions based on big data.

Most customers are loathe to admit that an algorithm can define them and predict their future behavior. They want to think of themselves as individual, spontaneous, free thinkers. However, the majority are willing to give up notions of individuality for the convenience of having everything they need ready and waiting for them when they’re ready to buy. Amazon is crushing the competition by knowing when office managers need better munchies for the break room, when parents of school children need great deals on flu medicine, and when gardeners are ready to stock up on fungicide to ward off a spreading tomato disease. Netflix is dominating the on-demand video streaming market by predicting what you’ll be in the mood to watch before dinner and what you’ll want to see later when the kids are all tucked in. Big data works for the company and works for the customer.

How Any Company Can Leverage Big Data for Marketing Success

Most companies already have enormous amounts of big data. What’s needed is a means for integrating the data, storing and analyzing it, and gleaning useful information out of it.  It begins with identifying opportunities where big data can help, such as:

  • Predicting who your customers are. This doesn’t just help you target where to spend money, it eliminates wasteful spending on marketing to people who simply won’t buy.
  • Predicting when your customers are ready to buy. Big data can help you identify when someone’s on the lookout for particular products, and whether they’re willing to fork out big bucks for it, or are waiting for a great deal.
  • Predicting what other products the customer might be interested in. This maximizes your ability to up-sell. If the last 100 customers who searched for “medium-size red widgets” also looked for “large blue widget covers,” you can market large blue widget covers to them at the point of sale, increasing spending of each customer significantly.
  • Predicting where and how your customers shop. Do they conduct a Google search? Use a smartphone or PC? Frequently check blogs or customer reviews before purchasing? Knowing these things helps you target your customers with precision, maximizing your ROI considerably.

Syncsort offers big data integration and analytics solutions to help you take advantage of big data for marketing success. Whether you’re integrating data from a mainframe or the cloud, use tools like Hadoop and Splunk, or operate using Windows, Linux, or Unix, Syncsort has a big data solution for you.

Isn’t a science you can depend on better than an art that can miss the mark?

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