Big Data is the next big thing. You probably hear that a lot lately.1019_4742950

For marketers, Big Data means big strides, big success, and big money. But like all significant technological breakthroughs, Big Data must be introduced in bite-sized morsels.

The name itself is scary – Big Data – and conjures up images of trillion-dollar Big Tobacco and Big Government. It seems like some mythical corporate beast with room-sized 1960s IBM computer banks and a basement full of punch cards.

It might be easier to live with if we called it Big Daddy because it facilitates data collection, storage, and analysis, allowing enough information to merge from separate spheres to provide real-time traffic maps, patient monitoring in intensive care units, and highly-targeted marketing strategies based on a customer’s ever-changing needs.

What Exactly Is Big Data?

Big Data is a general term used to describe any collection of information that is so large and complex that it cannot be processed through normal channels and existing data processing computers.

It’s not just a case of having enough space to store the overload of data that is just around the corner. The data has to be segmented, shared, transferred, visualized and analyzed, not to mention “curated,” or prepared for long-term storage in virtual archives.

Like it or not, Big Data is here to stay, and if you are marketing content, you will learn to love it. While the development of Big Data is proportional to the Internet of Things (IoT), marketers too can share in this windfall of new technology.

The IoT is the collective data base used to control “smart” appliances over the internet. If you still can’t wrap your mind around the scope of Big Data, let’s break it down.

You’re on vacation in Aruba when you get an alert on your smart phone – from your smart garage door opener – telling you that your garage door is open. You might want to call the person who’s keeping an eye on your property, but you can just close your garage door by using the app on your phone.

How Much Data Is Out There?

Pretty cool, but no big deal, right?

Well, multiply that by the 11 million American garage doors currently using smart garage door openers or receivers. Then add all the other app-controlled functions like lighting fixtures, locks, thermostats, real-time traffic maps, etc., and you have quite a mass of data to store and access.

Naturally, as more and more life-saving medical devices are connected to the Internet of Things, the importance of a manageable Big Data system becomes crystal clear.

It is said that the amount of data we produce and store doubles every 40 months. Currently, we produce 2.5 exabytes (2.5 x 1018) of information per day. Basically, we have outgrown our ability to manage data properly on our desktop software. That’s why more and more data is being stored in servers in the sky – aka The Cloud.

How Can Marketers Benefit From Big Data?

Big Data is being hailed as a godsend for marketers, especially in content and B2B marketing, where new opportunities in data storage and accessibility are creating new strategies that utilize data analysis techniques to pinpoint the good leads and filter out the bad.

This revolution in data management allows marketers to use sophisticated targeting techniques that could never be achieved on your desktop because it needs to run on software using hundreds (or thousands) of servers.

Some experts claim that marketers who are already using Big Data analytics have an edge on the competition and have seen an increase in there ROI of at least five percent.

If you combine the boundless valuable data that’s available with the latest marketing automation software, you can use Big Data to:

  • Tailor your emails

You’ve always been able to segment your contact list into as many groups as you felt necessary, but the added dimension of Big Data allows you to further identify potential leads by including endless information about their past purchases, current interests, and real-time monitoring of your contacts’ preferences.

  • Keep a closer eye on your prospects

Now you can keep real-time tabs on your customers and prospective customers with Big Data’s capacity for cross-referencing your customers’ likes, dislikes, and sentiments with their purchase history and open rate for various messages sent to them.

Having all this available data on each contact gives a marketer the ability to instantly see trends that previously took multiple time-consuming steps to uncover.

  • Monitor the whole dang web

Imagine if you could be a fly on the wall in all places at all times, keeping an eye on everything and a pulse on the heartbeat of all current trends in your neck of the woods.

Big data management makes that possible and then merges that data with your marketing campaign for a flawless algorithm of your customers’ needs and wants.

Again, it requires thousands of servers digesting zillions of gigabytes of information in real-time to perform these functions. You can’t handle it in-house, but you CAN start utilizing the Big Data supercomputers in the sky to keep abreast of everything.

  • Predict the future

Perhaps the biggest plus for marketers employing Big Data techniques is in the crystal ball effect – massive amounts of data about your client, processed at mind- boggling speeds along parallel servers – can effectively predict future behavior – for both you and your client!

These kinds of detailed projections, enabled by the advent of Big Data management, are classified as predictive analytics, and they go way beyond the simple idea that any customer who purchases a gun will likely need bullets, too.

Big Data can track everything from that gun owner’s shooting range registration and weapons licensing history to their social media content and their activities with your competition.

In fact, the world becomes your oyster when you decide to turn to Big Data for inbound marketing and especially for sales and marketing automation. In fact, Big Data and marketing automation are a match made in heaven.

What is the Future of Big Data?

What’s the future look like for Big Data?  There are a lot of predictions that it will improve health care, reduce crime, improve traffic and crop yields. The fact is, Big Data is here now, and you want to consider what it can do for your marketing ROI.

The term Big Data is relative. For a small company, a few hundred gigabytes of data coming in at once may overwhelm its data management system. For a larger company, it may take thousands of terabytes to tax its software.

It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. If you want to grow it competitively, you must step up your marketing game with Big Data techniques – or else you might get lost in the dust.

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