How to use big data to drive your marketing strategy

8 Jun 2023

Image: © Feodora/

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith gives her marketing insights into ethical data harvesting for improved customer acquisition and retention.

In the last decade, big data has transformed a number of global industries. While 72pc of manufacturers employ big data solutions to improve productivity, the healthcare industry uses analytic technology to provide better treatments.

The question is, could it be a game changer for marketers too? According to marketing strategy author Geoffrey Moore, “without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the web like deer on a freeway.”

Big data analytics continues to drive a more efficient future of marketing. Enhancing everything from consumer targeting to brand awareness and acquisition, big data has encouraged marketers to delve deeper into their success strategies.

However, this innovation doesn’t come without its challenges. Stick with us as highlight the power of big data in the marketing industry, and discuss why it could be a blessing and a curse for markets across the globe.

What types of big data can marketers use?

There are three main types of big data that marketers can leverage in 2023. These are operational, customer and financial data sets. Each area of big data analytics can help marketers learn more about their audience while also viewing their financial and operational progression in more detail.

Customer data

This is the most used big data source in the marketing industry. Allowing marketers to delve deeper into their demographic behaviour improves their understanding of their target audience. Leveraging analytics on purchase history, web searches, email addresses and site engagement can aid businesses in customising their targeting approach.

Operational data

This data is directly attributed to business processes. This can either be logistics or customer relationship management. Having the ability to track operational success can boost productivity and improve efficiency.

Financial data

Measuring performance margins is essential in the marketing world, so it’s no wonder that business leaders are leveraging big data to gain more insist into their statistics, costs and revenue payoff. This has made budget forecasting much easier for modern-day marketers.

Benefits of using big data

With more than two thirds (69pc) of marketers claiming that big data alone improves their strategic decision-making, it’s clear that employing analytic partners can definitely increase strategy success.

Targeted marketing

One benefit of knowing more about your demographic is the ability to create targeted campaigns. In an era of high e-commerce competition, consumers now expect brands to be highly personalised to their values and demands.

Using big data to delve deeper into on-site consumer behaviour can aid marketers in segmenting their customer base. With more information on lead locations, click patterns and purchase histories, brands can offer targeted campaigns and offers to different consumer groups for a more customisable experience.

Whether you’re building an online store, or planning your next round of social content, getting close to your consumers is important if you want to create an engaging experience.

Take Netflix, for example. As a platform with hundreds of millions of subscribers, it uses big data to constantly take note of consumer viewing habits, genre preferences and show searches. Using this data, Netflix sends consumers a personalised list of shows they would like to watch to keep them engaged with the service.

Customer acquisition

Prioritising a data-driven marketing strategy also improves customer acquisition. According to a McKinsey study, “intensive users of customer analytics are 23 times more likely to clearly outperform their competitors in terms of new customer acquisition.”

Creating a marketing strategy that is built on data allows for well-forecasted campaigns, personalised product ranges and a site that your target leads want to flock to.

Better still, big data could also improve your customer retention strategy. “Through more targeted advertisements, more relevant content and personalisation, customers are more loyal to brands than ever,” says Studydemic analyst Jimmy Gordon. “And this is only increasing with time. Customers are becoming brand ambassadors and improving brand image.”

Brand awareness

Big data gives marketers a 360-degree view of their entire market. If you’re constantly gathering information on your consumers and competitors, you’ll naturally jump ahead of the curve.

With a wider view of demographic trends, you can create social content that drives engagement and awareness. In fact, according to a retail study by Aberdeen Group, leveraging big data in your marketing strategy can boost brand awareness by 20pc.

Are there any challenges?

With any marketing innovation, there are challenges to overcome. While big data comes with enormous benefits for business leaders, it can be one of the trickiest systems to implement in a company.

Coordinating cross-department analytics

Big data adoption is a company-wide process. While marketers may leverage analytics for consumer targeting, sales teams may turn to big data for operational guidance, and business leaders may use it to improve financial forecasting.

However, when introducing one tool that aims to meet the needs of each team, you reach a hurdle. For example, while an IT team may require a complex user interface and a widespread overview of cross-platform data collection, business leaders may require a tool that is simple and focused.

Therefore, many businesses find themselves investing in a number of data-driven tools. This can increase costs, as well as hinder data sharing between teams.

Consumer disconnect

Gathering data is a lengthy process. While AI-powered data systems can track consumer data in real time, it can still take marketing teams time to act on their findings.

This could account for a rise in ‘consumer disconnect’, as the time between data gathering and campaign production is often too long. By the time marketers have acted on their big-data predictions, trends have already moved on.

The key here is to use big data as a forecasting tool for what is to come next rather than a strict guide for creating content.

A question of ethics?

With more ways to access detailed consumer data, there are more concerns about information privacy and business ethics.

About 30pc of online consumers are somewhat concerned about how their data is used online. To use data ethically going forward, marketers must be transparent with their audience about data gathering tools if they want to see success.

“Consumers are not idiots. They understand the value of their personal data and appreciate the judicious use of their private information when it serves their interests and needs,” claims Christian Ofori-Boateng, co-founder and CEO at ChristianSteven Software. “When your customers believe you work ethically, honestly and transparently with them, you build fierce loyalty, which translates to continued interactions and profits. You literally cannot buy such clients with money, but you can endear them for life with proper data ethics.”

Giving your consumers that chance to opt out of analytic tracking could build more loyalty between your audience and your brand, in turn boosting your retention rates.

A data-driven tomorrow

Big data certainly isn’t going anywhere. With a market value of $274 billion in 2023, the only way is up for analytic tools.

As AI and data harvesting get smarter, so do online digital natives. Moving forward, marketers must be open about their data harvesting if they don’t want to get caught out.

The age-old phrase of ‘those who are closest to their consumers win the sale’ has never been more apparent in the e-commerce world. For those looking to boost their targeting, acquisition and brand awareness in 2023, big data will allow you to get closer than ever before.

By Rebecca Barnatt-Smith

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith is a freelance content writer and multimedia marketing executive at Solvid Digital, specialising in social media trends and widespread digitalisation in the marketing sector.

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