How Do Communicators Capitalize On Big Data?

Big data – I’ve read more about big data in the last week than I have in my entire life. I often find myself asking, “What is big data? Why is it different from regular data?” Clearly it’s a large amount of data; hence the use of the word “big,” but that definition feels a bit ambiguous.

Since 2011, the term has taken off and become a focal point of almost all marketing initiatives. Because honestly, what good is all the work put in if there are no measurable results? But if we really want to dig deeper, what does “big data” actually mean, and how can a marketer effectively use it?

Many say it’s a buzzword used to identify such massive amounts of data that it’s nearly impossible to process it all. So how do you, the marketer, muck through all that unprocessable information and decipher what’s actually beneficial?

After my reading, I’ve pinpointed what I think are the three best ways to work with all that data.

1. Make your data as human as possible

Making data human? What? Is that even possible? The answer is yes, yes it is. You want to make sure your data is framed in a humanistic way. How would you find out details from a friend’s vacation this past weekend? You ask real questions in simple terms. Tuck away the jargon and get straight to the point. You also need to remain contextual and relay human emotion, because without context, the data collected means absolutely nothing.

2. Measure what matters

You may be thinking, “but it all matters!” which you’re right, why are you collecting the information if it ultimately doesn’t matter? But there are key numbers that marketers should focus on to be the most efficient. Personally, I think those things are the customer journey/purchase decision and material performance numbers. You need to know how/why the customer makes the decisions they do and you want to produce work that’s performing, because if it’s not, you’re wasting a whole lot of time and money.

3. Look to the future with your data

Lastly, I think it’s important to always be thinking, “What’s next?” Because you’re bringing in the large amounts of data, you have a great opportunity to capitalize on that knowledge. Look for unique ways to dig deeper into broad page-view numbers. Are certain phrases or words driving higher traffic? Experiment with that and switch them out. Don’t be afraid to play around and try new things.

We shouldn’t fear big data and shy away from its enormity. Embrace the opportunity it brings and capitalize on what matters.



Social Media Intern