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Over the last couple of years, Big Data has been unavoidable. It’s not just big, it’s massive. If you throw a stone down the streets of London or New York, you’ve got as much a chance of hitting a big data guru as you do a social media guru.
Undoubtedly, there is great power in data, but is Big Data all it’s cracked up to be?
50% of my brain thinks Big Data is great, and 50% of me thinks it’s a neologism. I’ve found it difficult to reconcile all of the varying information out there about it.
So join me for the first part of a two-part series looking at Big Data. In part one, I’ll look at Three reasons why Big Data is a big load of baloney. And next week in part two, I’ll look at Three reasons why Big Data is awesome.
You don’t need me to tell you that big data is big news. It’s one of most talked about topics of recent years, as marketers worldwide battle to make sense of all the data generated across their business.
Insight gathered from big data is enabling businesses to focus their investments in everything from sales and marketing, to customer service and research and development, more intelligently.
At Hotels.com, we’re using data from across our business, website and apps to better understand what our customers want from us and how we can improve the experience that we deliver to them.
So, how are we doing this? We started by making sure that we were tracking all data from across our business, be it analytics from our website, booking information from our apps, or customer enquiries in our contact centre.
By improving our understanding of how our customers interact with us and what they’re looking for, we have been able to optimise the design of our website and apps to ensure that we are consistently delivering an excellent experience.
According to The Aberdeen Group, 2012 was when we really started living in the ‘Big Data’ world. It was one of the hottest technology terms bandied around last year.
But what is it today, and how can marketers use it to enhance lead generation and business?
Big data has become something of a buzzword over the past year or so, but is it actually useful?
It conjures thoughts of massive amounts of forbidding, almost unfathomable data, and it seems that it has had little impact on the role of web analysts.
In fact, the response of 8% of marketers in our Online Measurement and Strategy Report 2013, created in assocation with Lynchpin, was: 'don’t care – big data is a pointless marketing term'.
We had a hunch that word choice in email subject lines have a strong effect on response rates. So, we tested 287 keywords across a sample of 2.2bn emails to see which work, and which don’t.
Why? Because President Obama has done more for email marketing than any world leader in the history of mankind. How? By focusing on subject line testing, his digital team optimised their donation campaigns to generate hundreds of millions of dollars online.
Despite Obama’s best efforts, most marketers still view email marketing as the Bluth Company’s Banana Stand of Arrested Development fame: a more boring and less sexy marketing channel than pretty much anything else imaginable.
But – and never forget this – there’s always money in the banana stand! There is great power in optimising subject lines.
In case you missed my presentations at MarketingWeekLive last week, you can find out more about our findings after the jump.
We've been enjoying bringing thought and discussion around the key themes of Integrated Marketing Week to our subscribers and blog community early with Google+ Hangouts.
If you missed our recent Hangout on big data, catch up with a quick read on some of the key points here!
Econsultancy has today published a new best practice guide aimed at companies wanting to join up online and offline data, bringing together their often separate web analytics and offline business intelligence platforms.
Below, the report's author Julian Brewer answers some questions about the widespread challenges and opportunities that inspired him to write this report.
Online communities are a powerful tool. Get the strategy right and they can help to generate a major success story: get them wrong, and they fade into insignificance, if you are lucky!
Historically, social media was seen as an anathema to businesses like banks.
Thankfully such narrow minded thinking is a thing of the past, but some businesses have gone too far in the other direction.
We're quite literally swimming in a sea of data. We have the ability to collect it from every consumer touch point we choose, whether it's website activity, cookies, socialgraph information, direct marketing database, in-store or using other third party tools.
There is no shortage of data, but what does your business do with it all? Is your brand using big data to enrich people's lives? Or is it just used for more "accurate" ad targeting?
It probably depends on how your business is structured and where you sit, or how you employ your agencies. Do you consider the entire consumer journey, and understand how your product and services enhance the lives of existing customers?
Or are you only concerned and targeted on achieving high advertising click-through rates and low cost per clicks?
There is a balance to be struck, and one of the biggest challenges facing brands and agencies today is to ensure they really do have the right intentions at heart. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of using all the insights derived from the various data sources to construct "relevant" marketing messages to interrupt people with the aim of persuading them to buy stuff.
This interruption, even if deemed relevant by the business, maybe unwelcome to the consumer and could tarnish your brand.
Read on, if you feel you, as a marketer, may be falling into such a trap.
Whilst the discussion was ripe with technical tongue twisters, the overall message was clear. Big Data, and its implications on Big Marketing, remains a mystery for many.
There is an endless stream of Big Data platform providers clamouring to prove that only they provide the most verifiable and cleanest solutions.
What is vital here is to not become fixated by promises but instead challenge the vendors’ capabilities to provide specific, applicable data which allows you to achieve the true purpose of engaging with data.
This purpose is to make more informed, Big Marketing decisions.
Data, data, data. It's the core of what good marketers are doing and it's fingers are reaching into every corner of the business. And with this data we are finally seeing the benefits of integrated campaigns, products and teams.
As part of the lead up to Integrated Marketing Week, we spoke to Seth Sarelson, RevTrax COO & co-founder, about how data is affecting what we are doing, how we can integrate and how these changes are affecting the retail market.
The big promise of big data for marketers is to be able to use all the data we have. By looking at all the information, big data allows us to explore minute details without the risk of blurriness.
in theory, sampling (which always lost detail because it is a proxy for the full data set) and guesswork go away, we can analyse all the data for every customer and prospect, and provide that customer experience nirvana of just the right offer at just the right time.
If that feels like a big change for you, then start small. Attribution, one of the most persistent of marketing challenges, can be a great area to apply big data for immediate results, and ROI.