3 Big-Data Challenges Marketers Need to Tackle Head-OnBy Amanda Walgrove July 7th, 2015
Have you ever thought “Big Data” could make a solid rapper name? No? Well Viacom did.
Viacom Velocity, the marketing agency that serves Viacom’s music and entertainment teams, just released a ridiculous music video about the importance of data analytics. It stars social media personalities The Fat Jew and Todrick Hall as rappers “Big Data” and “Hadoop,” respectively.
If The Fat Jew’s golden outfit and buzzword-laden boasts don’t make it clear enough, Viacom’s trying to make the point that big data can do wonders for struggling marketers. Yet many marketers here in 2015 still aren’t entirely sold on big data.
Why? Because the “big” part of big data is really a double-edged sword. Big data covers so much information that it can reveal crucial patterns in customer behavior, but the very scale of big data can make results difficult to obtain, assemble, and analyze if you don’t have the proper resources.
Still, this hasn’t stopped marketers from jumping on the big-data train. A Kentico Software poll found that big data is the third-biggest priority for American digital marketers this year. And Infogroup reported that 20 percent of American marketers planned to greatly increase their data-related marketing budgets in 2015.
Even with these larger investments, there are still plenty of challenges because of the inherent obstacles of working with big data. Here are the three biggest problems for 2015, courtesy of eMarketer’s new “Big Data Roundup.”
1. Mapping the customer journey
It’s important for marketers to understand how their customers eventually move from brand awareness to conversion. Even in the digital age, tracking this process can be extremely difficult. Customers may first see your brand on a billboard, then read about it on their desktop, and finally make a purchase on their mobile device.
Despite these challenges, marketers are still missing opportunities to use the data available to them to connect the dots between online and offline channels. In March 2015, less than 30 percent of marketers were collecting data at the point of sale, and only 34 percent were using online-generated codes to track offline purchases, according to eMarketer.
As a result, more than 60 percent of marketers worldwide felt that their measurements were incomplete, and 35 percent admitted they just did not understand the customer journey.
For big data to truly shed light on the customer’s path from awareness to conversion, marketers will need access to and understanding of tools that can bridge the gap between offline and online audience experiences. Only then can the customer journey come into focus.
2. Developing the right technology
When it comes to collecting and analyzing data, many marketers are still confused about whether to use in-house resources, purchase outside resources, or build their own analytics system to fit their customer journey.
As eMarketer found, most marketers are using faulty, fragmented approaches to understanding a cohesive customer experience. Only 8 percent said they have a comprehensive, effective solution in place. And just 16 percent were able to build their own technology tailored to their customers’ experience.
As a result, most marketers have trouble combining data as it becomes available across channels, giving them an incomplete understanding of how effective their efforts are in the buying process.
In a perfect world, there would be a one-size-fits-all solution for marketers looking to integrate big data into their strategies. But each product line, content offering, and customer journey is unique. So until the tools are available, or they’re able to build their own, marketers will continue to struggle with finding the necessary technology to provide a full picture.
3. Earning consumers’ trust
Marketers may be trying to improve the customer experience, but in order to do so, they have to track and follow each buyer’s moves. And that can cause some trust issues.
According to the report, less than 20 percent of U.S. smartphone and tablet users aged 13 to 54 feel companies don’t do enough to protect their digital privacy. Roughly half of respondents felt that companies “somewhat” protected their information, but they needed to be more transparent about their privacy policies.
The whole point of using big data is to find ways to make the buying process easier and more comfortable for consumers. If customers feel their privacy is being invaded, they will lose trust in the brand and leave them behind.
For example, there’s now no mystery about how Viacom Velocity uses big data to inform its marketing. But, of course, there’s no pressure to produce a whole music video about your strategy. A clearly written page on your website will do just fine.
Still figuring out how to get started using big data? Refer to this nifty infographic from CAKE: