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Big Data & Marketing

As a business intelligence professional, I am always keeping an eye on developing trends in the industry and recently I came across an article on the "Top 8 Big Data Trends That Marketers Should Care About." Being a part of the Redmond office, I have the opportunity to see our marketing team in action and appreciate the work that they do. This article naturally piqued my interest as I see the team work diligently to help clients develop sound marketing strategies to grow their businesses and streamline their day-to-day business operations. Previously, I have worked with large data sets – terabyte and petabyte range and this article inspired me to reflect on the impact of what I do as a professional. The question I have wrestled with is: what are some of the developing trends that I see as business intelligence professional and how do these trends affect the role of marketers in today’s workplace? As the need for Big Data solutions grow, business intelligence professionals need to be aware of how business objectives may change in the coming years, how this impacts a business or marketing strategy, and the new big data jobs that may be created. Marketers too, will be expected to have some understanding of big data and be able to communicate and collaborate with business intelligence professionals to create strategies that best position the organizations for the most growth and profits.

A key trend that was observed through 2014 focused on marketing analytics and centered on the structure of data for end-users and the story the end-user data tells. There is a big difference into having large volumes of data versus having the "right" data. But what is the right data? The right data is that which is structured in such a manner that the end-user can gain appropriate insight into the business operations to do sufficient analysis on the organization. Regardless of what you may have been taught in school, most people do not care about how much data exists or how big your Hadoop cluster. That information does not make the data any more relevant. What makes Big Data relevant is whether or not the data provides the answers that the user is looking for. The closer you can come to giving the end-user what they want, the less effort they have to expend in looking for answers. It’s about putting the right tools in the hands of marketers to better drive their campaigns and ensure that they are where their customers are. When equipped with the right data, marketers can tell their client who their fans and customers really are, they can provide insights on the best performing content and how that performance converts into revenue impacting sales. When we have appropriate insights into our data, personalizing campaigns becomes easier and increases the bottom line

A recent McKinsey study showed that companies who put personalized strategies at the center of their marketing campaign improved their ROI by ten percent or more. Pre-targeting ads in online store makes use of big data by analyzing individual consumer purchase histories to make recommendations consumers while they are still in the purchasing phase. Eighty-six percent of respondents in the study stated that the personalization influenced their purchase. When equipped with the right data, marketers are able to personalize shopping experiences to each individual. This is the power of big data when it's structured with the end-user in mind. So as big data is on the rise, there is an increasing need for big data professionals.

One of the biggest reasons for this talent gap is the lack of experience and know-how of applicants. In recent years many educational institutions have been slow to realize the growing needs and potential of big data and have only recently began to retool their programs. However, there are schools that are offering degrees and certification in data science, analytics, data mining, and marketing. With the advent of the "Internet of Things" and the amount of data that is generated (see Every 2 Days We Create As Much Information as we did up to 2003), professionals in big data analytics is ever increasing. If you are looking for degree or certification in big data analytics or data science, there is a great list of traditional and online programs. If you are interested in a career in big data, know that companies around the world are on the hunt for technically savvy experts. There has been a 300% increase in demand for data scientists and engineers since 2013. The area of big data will continue to revolutionize how business is done and promises to help businesses to be more relevant in the future. Business’s need professionals to help lead them down that path. Now is a prime opportunity to be a leader in the big data space.

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