How Big Data’s Maturity Enables Informed Marketing Decisions

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The potential for big data to help small businesses is becoming increasingly apparent to marketing professionals over time, as the technology and its markets mature. As today’s leading data collection, storage, visualization and analysis platforms start to figure out the best ways to empower users to find our own insights from the wealth of information available, the disciplines of business intelligence (BI) and data-driven marketing are undergoing major change.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen a number of significant upgrades to BI tech. IBM has announced the development of a new “smart storage” algorithm that uses a complex matrix of “data value” signals to determine caching priorities and render servers more efficient. Sisense has begun working with the new 6th Generation Intel Core vPro processors to deliver 300 percent improvements in BI analytics speeds. Teradata is rebooting its massive parallel processing (MPP) platform under the new brand name IntelliFlex, while reconfiguring the architecture of Intelliflex’s data warehouse to reduce down time and latency. And Hadoop distributor Hortonworks recently rolled out a new platform called DataFlow, which uses agent technologies to consolidate event records fired off by internet of things (IoT) sensors.

While big data may have seemed as mysterious as magic to marketers in its infancy just a few years ago, marketing itself has moved on from being a primarily “creative” field to increased emphasis on science, and it’s all enabled by tech advances like those described above. In practice, this magic is contingent on the inventive thinking of the CMO, or the marketing team member who devises queries and wrangles dashboards to come up with the “big idea.” It’s increasingly becoming about math – get the right algorithm, and you can get the right numbers on your side.

Following the money and the bytes

This type of marketing activity represents significant change from yesteryear’s imperfect methods of determining who a company’s buyer personas and existing customers are, what they want and how to engage with them most effectively. Now we can unlock insights like these based on huge collections of actual interactions, as our big data shows us how to best deliver the big idea.

Computer Sciences Corp estimates that the total amount of data generated by humankind will grow by a mind-blowing 4,300 percent between 2009 and 2020. Investors are betting heavily on the value of that big data for marketing and BI purposes, pouring in some $7.4 Billion for marketing technology funding and acquisitions over the course of Q4 of 2015 alone, according to VB Insight. No wonder Gartner predicts that IT spending by CMOs will soon surpass that of CIOs.

So what kinds of solutions are CMOs buying? They are buying the tools necessary to evaluate and refine marketing strategies. Today’s marketers are bent on measuring and optimizing their allocation of marketing resources, their conversion rates and their customer experiences. Setting up big bata capabilities in-house, however, is beyond the reach of most companies. The closing of that capability gap is where the big money is going.

Big data’s marketing impact point

Multiple channels are necessary for reaching the widest possible relevant audience with meaningful messaging that converts – which is the goal of marketing, after all. Multi-channel marketing demands prioritization and all kinds of other decisions, though, which are unrelated to the big idea yet necessary for delivering its power of persuasion.

In this sense, the insights that self-service platforms like Sisense can unlock for its clients form the basis for making touch marketing prioritization decisions quickly and effectively. Sisense simplifies business analytics for complex data by leveraging two innovative technologies. In-Chip Analytics forces data into the cache of a desktop computer or server, rather than having the CPU refer over and over again to stored memory. This accelerates the process so dramatically that data preparation steps can be eliminated, and the nimble, on-the-fly results necessary for business decisions become not just possible, but easy.

Single-stack architecture means that everything is handled by Sisense – the ETL (extract, transform and load), the data management environment, the analytics environment and the visualization. This allows the company to deliver business intelligence (BI) as a one-stop-shop to companies from SMBs with ten employees, all the way up to eBay and Lockheed Martin.

Self-service data-driven marketing

Effective BI software allows marketing departments to test concepts without being reliant on data scientists, and without the complex organizational and technical processes which block effective testing. Inexpensive, easy-to-access information gives marketers the power to make decisions about which types of customers are best engaged with through which marketing channels.

Knowing what’s the right channel, the right time, and the right way to reach out to the right people allows marketers to optimize their budgets and maximize their growth.

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Itai Elizur is the COO at Inbound Junction, a content marketing agency specializing in helping startups and business increase their online visibility. Prior to joining the Inbound Junction team, Itai worked as a Creative Manager at, and as the Director of Marketing at Infolinks, the 3rd largest website network in the world.