When it comes to big data and how it has been implemented since its inception, it has gone from being scoffed at to being taken more seriously than most other forms of analytics out there today available to large corporations. In fact, big data collection and analysis are now as important to medium-sized ventures as well, and it’s no surprise that it is among the most important tools we use when determining the when, where, who, and how of marketing.

It’s a story as old as time—from the moment we humans have had any interest in selling anything to anyone, we’ve needed to know how to reach that special group of people who were as interested in our enterprise as we were in selling them our products and services. Big data has played a huge part in the success of finding those folks online and off, in virtual stores and at Main Street storefronts.

But it’s important to understand that big data is relatively new, and many of the ways we continue to market are kind of old school. Unless you’re a local pharmacy in a tiny town with no competition (or are in a similar situation), marketing is the most important thing you can do for your business, with the exception of creating a phenomenal product or service that people will want to use.

And that’s just it: when people like what you’re selling, they love to tell their friends and family about it, and this is one of the oldest, yet still most effective ways of marketing. But nowadays, Pearl and Sue Ellen aren’t rocking on their front porches singing the praises of the local general store—Dakota and Madison are liking and commenting on your company Facebook page, tweeting about how awesome your product is, and pinning your products to their boards on Pinterest.

Using big data to analyze all this and how effective this new kind of word of mouth via Internet and social platforms is more important now than ever. But it takes more than checking in on your likes, retweets, favorites, repins, and Facebook stats. Collecting this kind of big data has to be approached in an organized, straightforward, and scientific manner. While it is true that the consumers have an emotional attachment (hopefully happiness and excitement) to your product or service, how they feel about it has to be measured analytically, not in an emotional way.

Using the most effective analytics tools available to your business, the data collected should be broken down by all kinds of demographics—from age and gender to ethnicity and geo-location and more. It should also be organized in a chronological manner that allows you to see and understand when your demographics are spending more, when they are spending less, and how well new customer aggregation is coming along as well as how well (or how badly) your company’s customer retention is.

All in all, the information you are presented with by collecting big data needs to show you a picture that is crisp and as decipherable as a math equation. This complex level of data collection demands that you stop doing back of the envelope addition and guesswork. It demands that no matter how traditional your business may be, and regardless of the industry you’re in, sooner or later your business will have to take on some level of data collection and understanding. This is not a time to go against the grain; it’s a time to embrace the technology that will make your business more successful without any doubt.

Image Source: Data Suggests that Most Digital Marketers Dislike… Data?