Customer Experience, Digital Marketing, It's Not Big Data - It's Smart Data
At the end of the day, it's not about how much data you have, it's about how well you use it.

If you haven’t noticed, the term “Big Data” is all the rage these days.

There’s even Big Data meetups here in Amsterdam. And, really, the “big” in Big Data describes not just the quantity, but all the different types of data that are available now. And, certainly over time the analysis of all this data can provide interesting insights to drive business value.

But the thing that marketing is so focused on now -- the idea of creating optimized content experiences for users -- doesn't really rely on how “big” the data is -- but how smartly we utilize it. 

Size Doesn’t Matter - Much

Deriving value out of the data that an enterprise has, especially when it’s being used to drive an optimized content experience, has little to do with size, and much to do with how easily it's accessed and how intelligently our content tools can use it to drive that optimized consumer journey.

Using that data really means a marriage of both the CMO and the CIO and their respective goals.I’ve discussed that before in two previous articles here and here, so I won’t go through it again.

But a recent report from McKinsey & Company estimates that, in the US alone, there is a shortfall of almost 200,000 analytics experts and more than one million data experts with the skills that businesses will need to make sense of this data. DCG Analyst Robert Rose wrote recently about this gap in his post The Manager Of Meaning.

But the true promise of content experiences is only realized if we can deliver on the meaning that we can derive out of “smart data.” Let’s look at three of these core benefits:

3 Benefits Of Smart Data & Content Experiences

The real ability to better contextual experiences to consumers will be if we increase the skill set we have within the marketing department.Marketers must understand their buyer’s journey and how to make meaning of every single experience the business has with them.

In other words, marketers must start using analytics (or data) to increase the quality of the engagement as opposed to always focusing on creating more transactions. Here are three capabilities that marketers must have today:

1. Intelligent Content Personalization

Intelligent personalization goes beyond giving web visitors the ability to have their own interface, and display content based on explicit preferences.Rather,“Intelligent Personalization” uses all the data that a marketer has at his/her disposal to not only to optimize the content, but to also optimize the experience.This includes, of course, things like mobile device, and regional optimization – but also includes things like real-time behavior, social signals, transactional data coming from the e-Commerce system etc…

Customer Experience, Digital Marketing, It's Not Big Data - It's Smart Data

2. Real Data-Driven Marketing


To realize the above, marketers are going to need special skills in order to synthesize web analytics, social shares, landing page conversions and every other metric that the marketer has in his/her arsenal.


Learning Opportunities

Enterprises now need solutions, both technical and process driven, that can store, manage and utilize vast amounts of analytics data in order to drive business results.These systems can and should be able to display dashboards so that marketer can monitor their properties, but also utilize this data to feed back into the content display and actually drive the content to optimize the experience.


3. Situational Analytics

The topic of “predictive analytics” is very hot today.But as any marketer knows, it’s near impossible to actually predict how any customer interaction is going to go.Instead, the smart integration of data is going to result in “situational analytics.” This means being able to look at data, and plug in different, hypothetical situations and see which one has the better chance of actually succeeding.

Smarter Data Is A Game Changer


One of the biggest evolutions of integrating smarter data into content experiences is that it levels the playing field with larger competitors who may have more resources to burn on advertising media.


Using the totality of visitors as a whole -- and deriving meaning from all of their content experiences, we can deliver more relevant and contextual experiences than our competitors.And today, we can deliver those solutions in much less expensive ways than the multi-million dollar solutions that may have historically been out of our reach.

Big Data is just a problem.Smart Data is a solution that changes the game of marketing, and how we deliver better solutions for customers from this point forward.

Editor's Note: Read more from Tjeerd in his Ignoring the X in CXM is Ignoring the Future