In recent years, big data analytics was considered a buzzword in the marketing industry, but the reality is, it’s here. And, if you aren’t already leveraging big data analytics tools as part of your marketing strategy, you are not only missing out on a major competitive advantage, you are at risk of getting outperformed by competitors.

Big data can provide you with insights on unique customer behaviors and the opportunity to refine your marketing approaches. There are several key trends shaping the ways marketers are reaping the benefits of big data analytics.

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Below are just some of the ways marketers are currently leveraging big data analytics, in a meaningful way that is driving real value and results in performance and profitability.

  • Dynamic pricing: It is crucial to establish the right price point for customers. Big data analytics allows real-time monitoring and analysis of prices, product and insights on consumer interest. Allowing marketers to adjust pricing in a responsive way based on customer behavior (i.e. offering discounts to hesitant buyers).
  • Measuring ROI: Calculating ROI and demonstrating how an individual advertising activity directly contributes to the bottom-line, has always been an incredible challenge marketers face. The advanced capabilities of big data solutions can account for all crucial measures, such as level of investment, consumer responses and actions and channel. Providing a precise ROI and helping to inform future campaigns and make better budgeting decisions.
  • Forecasting: When big data analytics are analyzed in light of historical data, statistical algorithms are able to determine the chances of future results and behaviors. This leads to a much more effective ability to forecast customer behavior and adjust marketing efforts based upon these insights.
  • Planning marketing efforts: Big data provides detailed analysis of the latest trends in customer behavior with startling accuracy, including very specific sub-groups. This allows marketers to adjust their strategies in a way that appeals to each of these audiences differently.
  • Personalization. Personalizing the customer experience has likely been the biggest shift we have seen in the marketing industry. Current practices include personalizing the entire customer journey, but this isn’t truly possible without big data analytics that provide the user-generated data necessary to understand consumer choices and preferences.
  • Enhancing Product Offerings. Data can inform about product features consumers like and dislike. This can allow businesses to adjust marketing efforts in a way that allows them to focus on the most popular and positive elements of the product or service. This data can also be used for design suggestions, which ultimately improves the product in way that customers want, making it easier to advertise and sell.

The capabilities of these applications are sure to increase over the coming years. But right now, big data is already here, and it is incredibly valuable to the entire marketing process. Are you ready?

A version of this article originally appeared on HGS Digital’s blog.