Big Data Doesn’t Deliver Revenue

Big data is still big news and it is not going away anytime soon. However, big data doesn’t deliver revenue. It doesn’t drive leads, pipeline or opportunities. It is just data. The key to data and its possibilities are about what you do with the data and that is where the trouble lies or opportunity exists.

shutterstock_286758119Marketers collect data every chance we get and we seem to always want more. According to a recent Inc. article, research conducted by CSC reports that there will be a 4,300 percent increase in annual data generation by 2020. That’s a lot of data. Marketing’s goal in collecting data is ultimately to learn more about our buyers. We want to know all about our buyers including relevant data including their content consumption preferences, their buying committees, their trigger events and ultimately, how and why they choose their solutions so we can find our next buyers. The good news is that the answers to these questions are often in the data available to marketers. However, the challenge is analyzing the data, the right set of data, to lead to those insights. According to recent Forbes article, “The Big Data Challenge: Generating Actionable Insights” and Harvard Business Review report, marketers rely on data only 11% of the time for customer-related decisions.

Why? What is holding marketers back from using this valuable data? There may be many reasons why marketers may not be using their data effectively, however, there are two that impact marketers most:

More doesn’t mean better-
Having too much data can be as big of a problem as having too little data. Marketers need to focus on collecting the right, useful data that align to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) established by both the organization and business unit, and then focus on developing insights from that data. Focus on how to meet organizational goals, not how to simply address response-based metrics or vanity metrics like clicks or opens. Gathering data isn’t the problem, it’s gathering the right data that matters.

A picture is worth a thousand words-
When the right data is collected, there is still the challenge of interpreting the data.  Visually representing data enables teams and individuals to make sense of vast amount of data quickly and share the results just as fast. Companies like Tableau or Birst offer comprehensive Business Intelligence solutions with robust reporting and detailed graphics to easily showcase results. Imagine the power of seeing vital engagement or conversion metrics in detail over specific periods of time or by content piece in a bar graph? It’s much easier to interpret and take action on relevant data that can be shown visually, rather than just via numbers.

The focus on big data is not going to stop, especially as the amount of data generated is increasing exponentially. However, marketers can maximize the use of big data by focusing on gathering the right data, the data the provides metrics we can use to develop deep buyer insights that enable us to grow our pipeline, create content that Engages our buyers and keeps our customers happy and informed. Gathering data is not the goal of marketers. However, it is the gathering the right data and then putting it to good use to drive better results and more revenue that needs to be a focus of marketing. If data is not actionable, why bother?

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