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The term Big Data refers to the entirety of the process that information goes through for real-world application. This means that it encompasses data gathering, data analysis, and data implementation.
In this post, we’ll briefly cover how big data got to where it is today and analyze the big data trends you should know about in 2018. Knowing what to do in the midst of change will help you implement the right data-driven marketing strategies to future-proof your business.
In the past, big data was used primarily by big businesses, not only because their broad scope of service demanded more precise data, but also because they were the only ones who could afford the technology and channels used to collect and analyze the information.
Much like any other process in the business world, Big Data has evolved at an unbelievably fast pace. The best example of this is Big Data in the cloud. Today, even small businesses can take advantage of Big Data, as the convoluted setup and costly data experts aren’t required anymore because everything they need can be accessed remotely.
In addition, both people and businesses are switching to a digital system, which in turn generates pools of information. Different forms of data are collected and connected to aid businesses in drawing analogies between datasets, coming up with actionable insights and helping them with decision-making.
The never-ending stream of information is incredibly useful for businesses, but it can also be a challenge to draw relevant insights from such a large data pool. Another problem is getting the right information. Even with these challenges, there’s no denying that Big Data offers business opportunities and growth.
In 2016, security and privacy were major themes of concern for Big Data, and that spilled over into 2017, especially with numerous hacks and data breach scandals.
According to experts, Big Data also had a societal impact in the form of fake news recognition, coinciding with the misuse of social media platforms, as it could be used by propagandists to undermine democracy.
The cloud and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) were expected to play significant roles in the development of Big Data management and generation. Analytics show the real value of IoT, as it is being used to create IoT product offerings. There was also a shift to streaming/edge cloud architectures for more storage and analytic workloads, which allowed Big Data analytics to progress even further.
Other Big Data trends in 2017 are as follows:
People can now control their humble home appliances through smartphones, all thanks to the concept of IoT. No one knows yet if gadgets like the Amazon Echo will be a mainstay in homes, but the involvement (and investment) of big companies means that businesses and consumers will continue to use internet-connected devices.
With more organizations launching IoT solutions, the growing IoT craze will help create more data and touchpoints for businesses to collect information. Many will also need new technologies and systems to manage and analyze the flood of big data coming in as a result.
For 2018 and beyond, responsive devices and smarter networks are what the market will be focusing on. With all the new devices coming online, there is also an expected increase in the growth of data collected. Expected total business expenditure towards IoT will be at $6 trillion by 2021, with a $15 trillion contribution to global GDP by 2030.
Companies, both large and small, are now utilizing AI functionalities like chatbots to automate specific processes. Since there are prebuilt AI applications now due to high demand, SMEs can easily get their hands on this technology, which levels the playing field for all. It’s now up to their Sales and Marketing teams on how to better utilize this technology.
Analytics is now a substantial strategy for businesses to achieve their targets. Companies look at big data to see what happened and use their analytical tools to find out why those things happened. Predictive analysis uses big data to predict what might happen in the future.
No doubt that it will be useful for data-driven marketing, as it can help analyze data to predict consumer behavior, allowing Sales and Marketing teams to know a customer’s next action before they even take it. Analytics is also trying to provide more context to data to help understand the why behind the what.
Today, only 29% of organizations use predictive analytics, according to a survey from PwC. This number is expected to grow this year moving forward, as many vendors have recently come out with predictive analytics tools.
Dark data, or information that is yet to become available in digital format, is an untapped reservoir for now. In 2018, these analog databases will hopefully be digitized and put in the cloud so they can potentially increase the range of trends and cycles that businesses can predict.
With data becoming an integral business strategy, Chief Data Officers (CDOs) are becoming a more critical role in an organization.
In a Forbes survey, more than 50% of CDOs will likely report directly to the CEO in 2018. They’re bound to take on more active roles in shaping their businesses’ initiatives. This is good news for data marketers in a more personal sense, as this means there is room for career growth.
Imagine being able to crunch billions of numbers at once, in a matter of minutes. Such immensity and speed cut big data processing time by more than half, allowing companies to take action in a more timely manner for improved results.
Something this massive is only possible through quantum computing, which will likely be utilized soon as companies like Google, Intel, and the Turing Institute start actively developing and battery testing quantum computers.
Last year’s scandals are enough to make any enterprise paranoid about hacking and breaches, so in 2018 companies are focusing on fortifying data confidentiality. IoT is also a cause for concern with possibilities of cybersecurity issues. Big Data companies are now helping providers market products that use data analytics as a tool to detect and predict threats.
Big Data can be used as a security strategy. A security log data can provide information about past threats, which companies can use to prevent and mitigate future attempts. There are also those that can choose to integrate their security information and event management software with Big Data platforms.
It’s likely that public data solutions like Apache Hadoop and Spark will continue to dominate. In 2017, enterprises expanded their use of Hadoop and NoSQL and looked for ways to speed up data processing. In 2018, technologies that allow access and response to data in real time will be in high demand.
Open source applications are no doubt cheaper and will cut costs for your business, but as with any other good thing, there are certain drawbacks that you should be aware of.
With edge computing, the big data analysis happens not in the data center or cloud, but close to the IoT devices and sensors. For companies, this means better performance since there’s less data flowing in the network and fewer cloud computing costs.
Storage and infrastructure costs also decrease because the company can choose to delete irrelevant IoT data. Edge computing can also speed up data analysis, allowing for faster action times from decision-makers.
In 2016, Facebook allowed developers to integrate chatbots in its Messenger service. Since then, many companies have deployed bots to take queries from customers, giving them a more personalized method of interaction without the need for human customer service personnel.
Big Data is the foundation of this customer experience, as bots process volumes of data to produce the most relevant answer based on keywords in the query. They’re also able to pick up and analyze information about customers based on a conversation.
The improvement of bot technology will help marketers collect more/better data to develop both their customer service strategy and targeting of online ads. It also helps businesses cut costs on support resources.
The advancement you enjoy today in virtually every industry can all be traced to Big Data. It has helped create smarter cities, better academics, medical breakthroughs, and more efficient enterprise resource planning.
But for it to reach its full potential, you must thoroughly understand and use the right technology, skills, processes, planning, and industrial applications.
As it becomes more available and affordable to implement Big Data strategies, you can expect more changes and trends that will help your business grow and thrive.
To learn more about the different ways your business can use data to grow your sales funnel, be sure to check out our FREE whitepaper: The Complete Guide to Data-Driven Marketing
2017 is flying by. It’s time to review the key B2B marketing trends that have popped up so that you can evaluate the success of your B2B strategy. Remember, it’s all about context. It’s nearly useless to know about the trends if you’re not fully aware of what they mean for you and your company.
We’ve picked the year’s 5 most compelling trends in B2B marketing to tell you exactly what they mean for your business:
Implication: Throughout 2016, Account-Based Marketing was touted as an effective B2B marketing strategy. According to an ABM study by SiriusDecisions, 42% of marketers claim that they have been using ABM for at least 6 months.
During the Sirius Decisions 2017 Summit in Las Vegas, Lynsay Russell of Medtronic discussed how ABM proved beneficial for their organization. In their ABM approach, the average deal size of their targeted accounts is 35% larger than the average deal size of accounts not targeted via ABM methods.
Bottom line, your B2B competitors are successfully using ABM, and if you haven’t adopted this strategy yet, you may get left behind.
Strategy: Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the practice of tailoring sales and marketing strategies to a particular account that can make a big impact on ROI. Account-based marketers don’t concern themselves with lead quantity. Rather, they pursue quality.
ABM doesn’t care about the thousands of followers you gained on Twitter. It’s closing the deal that matters, which helps you build your bottom line faster and more efficiently.
Narrow your focus and personalize your marketing efforts to target your best accounts that have higher chances of converting. Don’t waste your resources on the smaller fish. Go for the big one.
Implication: More than half of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile devices, so if you’re not implementing a mobile-first strategy, then you’re ignoring more than 50% of your potential leads.
There are over 4.92 billion mobile users around the world that you can potentially reach with mobile marketing strategies. Now that mobile has become a primary channel for media consumption; businesses need to take advantage of the opportunities for new traffic and data collection.
Strategy: Ensure that your content is responsive on any mobile device. Since business owners and department heads are now using their mobile devices to research business solutions, make your website accessible through any device and optimize it for the biggest screens down to the smallest gadgets.
Invest in mobile apps so that you can personally reach out to your prospects and existing clients, as this will help increase sales and client engagement. Make sure to allot resources for mobile app remarketing since research suggests that people tend to stop using apps after 30 days. It’s also a good idea to integrate your campaigns with SMS and MMS marketing communications.
Implications: A multitude of technologies and innovations are available to make the lives of marketers easier. Of course, these tools can also be used to enhance existing marketing campaigns.
Marketing automation tools help you reach your prospects and personalize communications. If you’re still doing it old-school, these repetitive, mundane tasks are probably costing your business more in the long-run.
Strategy: Review your approach to using marketing technologies. Audit the tools you currently use across your marketing categories.
Scott Brinker, author of “Hacking Marketing,” outlines six marketing categories that you can use for your audit:
This refers to technologies that directly affect customer touchpoints across the marketing lifecycle, including advertising, email, social media, SEO, content marketing, A/B testing, marketing apps, and other related tools.
Operations cover the tools and data for managing the “back-office” of marketing. This includes your data analytics, MRM, DAM, and agile marketing management technologies.
Marketing middleware helps integrate marketing platforms and systems with each other. This may include data management platform, data protection, API services, cloud connectors, tag management, and the like.
Review each of your backbone platforms separately, as each may be for a different purpose. Examples of these are tools for customer relationship management (CRM), content management systems (CMS), automation, and e-commerce tools.
Your marketing infrastructure includes cloud computing, big data management, databases, and software development tools.
This doesn’t just refer to your internet provider (but you need to check that, too). Make sure the internet platforms you’re using such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other services that underlie the marketing environment are integrated seamlessly.
Implications: Adding images to your content will help promote brand awareness and brand recall. According to a recent study, visual recall is stronger than audio or text.
When people hear a piece of information, they tend to only remember 10% of it three days later. But when you add pictures to the same information, they can remember 65% of it after three days.
Additionally, 37% of marketers claim that visual marketing is their most important form of content because it greatly contributes to building trust and engagement with audiences.
Strategy: Use compelling images that are consistent with your brand across all platforms. Make your content easy on the eyes and use white space to your advantage. You don’t want to overdo it and overwhelm your audience with needless distractions, so aim for visual quality over quantity.
Create graphs and charts to illustrate data and statistics. Customize your images for added relevance and branding. Experiment with short and highly educational videos. Most importantly, make sure you’re following the 10 Commandments of Visual Content.
Implications: Big data algorithms and advanced data analytics make it possible for marketers to deliver consistent omnichannel customer experiences across all platforms and channels.
Indeed, big data is revolutionizing the way we do marketing. It increases the quality of your sales leads, improves customer experiences at every touchpoint, and helps managers make sound business decisions.
Without the necessary data, you can’t understand who your leads are and how to reach them with personalized communications. So, get on the big data bandwagon and optimize your campaigns!
Strategy: Go beyond your marketing campaign execution and use big data to help make customer relationships more successful. A data analytics expert or consultant can help you with this when the numbers become too overwhelming.
Create a big data framework that’s aligned with your organizational and marketing goals. Segregate transactional and non-transactional data to determine which ones go under social analytics, performance management, decision science, and data exploration.
In a nutshell, taking advantage of data means setting up systems to collect and analyze data at every possible point in your sales process. The more you know about your business and your audience, the better you’ll be at creating the right marketing strategy.
It’s not enough to know what the current marketing trends are. As responsible marketers, trend analysis involves knowing, understanding, and acting on the trends.
Don’t forget to measure your performance as you respond to these trends. Every business is different, and being data-driven will help determine if these strategies are a good fit for your needs.