Big Data has some massive implications for the way businesses approach marketing. Rather than stumbling in the dark about what they think consumers’ want, or what they will do, Big Data gives you a way to predict the future. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step above what we’ve been doing.

The beauty of Big Data is that when you are able to dig deep into the data you have collected over time and find patterns, you are finding more than just numbers or trends. Data collected from what consumers have done online reflects how they behave.

Some criticisms of Big Data claim that mining numbers cannot possibly harness the human soul or provide insight into the human mind — and, correspondingly, human behavior. Those criticisms are quite simply unfounded.

True, your data sets of consumer behavior generally come from digital interactions: what emails did they open? What links did they follow? How long did they stay on this page? What did they buy — and did they buy anything similar? How often have they come to my page? What keywords are they searching for when they’re typing queries into Google or Bing?

The answers to those questions, when compiled and analyzed, allow you as a marketer to gain a deeper perspective on human behavior. Having a tool at your disposal to help you find these answers helps you move even further toward accurately forecasting the right answers to even more quintessential marketing questions, like “what do my customers want?” or “what should I sell?” or “how should I market my product?”

Big Data gives you answers — but the best use of these answers comes through asking and answering, even more, questions.

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