Data is only as powerful as the insights that it elicits. How can marketers get more out of big data so they can improve their ROI? To help us learn more, we turned to Craig Davis, CEO at Relevvant. As you may recall, Relevvant enables enterprises to execute highly personalized campaigns at tremendous scale, which requires leveraging big analytics.

Unify Your Data

Because many organizations are unaware of the what information they have, how to access it or how to use it, Davis says it's important to build a bridge between the data center and marketing. No longer can information remain siloed because there is much it can benefit by being shared. Once the bridge has been built, marketers can identify the tools they can use to unify and optimize data across channels. What does it mean to unify it? Potential use cases include compiling info about customers, creating a user record that links all customer info across profiles and channels. This can be useful in helping to align and understand user behaviors with promotional or targeted content. 

Of course, the challenges to unifying data may seem obvious, but Davis says it isn't a big data problem -- it's a connection problem. Most CPGs with multiple brands don't have a universal record of the social and personal behaviors of customers across brands so they have no way of identifying trends and pushing out relevant information.

And relevancy is key, says Davis. Customers respond positively when they feel connected to a brand. Rather than receiving stuff they like that feels like spam, customers receive more relevant communications which makes them feel as if brands are speaking specifically to them.

Earlier this month, I admitted that I enjoy it when brands can help me keep on track with my purchase. When they remind me that I've left items in my shopping cart or when they let me know when an item I've been browsing has gone on sale, it makes me feel more connected to them. So why don't more brands do this? Davis says it's because most companies are still talking about it, but haven't put anything into action.

An Infrastructure to Rule Them All

To put big data into action requires an infrastructure that can handle the demand. Once built, the right tools can be identified and then leveraged and extended to the right channels. Of course, getting it right requires a lot of people, money and usually takes about one to two years to fully implement. Thinking holistically about customer experience and future use cases can only help anticipate the ways that big data can be connected to the customer experience. As Davis says, "you may sell only jeans, but data is huge [in creating a unique customer experience]."

To really understand what the future big data can do to drive marketing, it's important to explore all the possibilities. Davis says that most companies start with a few ideas, but come up with a much longer list after they fully consider how it can enhance the customer experience and give brands valuable information about their customers.

Image credit: Kentoh