Six Tips for Extracting Big Data Insights


By Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO, Hawthorne Direct, ad agency where art meets science

Amazon is a market leader at using big data, both in terms of the refined suggestions it offers to consumers, and internally as the company processes millions of transactions and shipments. It reviews all of this information to streamline the customer experience and to refine its own processes. Another example can be found with American Express, which uses predictive analytics to identify the most loyal customers and offer them retention incentives.

These companies have something in common: the ability to manage massive sets of data and pull actionable insights. This is the tricky part for marketers who are striving to find ways to dive into data and generate the right insights that can then affect marketing decisions.

Consider these six strategic tips for creating positive ROI through big data with improved campaigns and targeted messaging:

1. Use clean data. Computers operate under logical constraints. Within the big data context, this means the outputs and resulting insights can only be as good as the underlying data. If the data entered into the analytics engine is not well organized or is non-essential, then even the best data scientist won’t be able to extract value. Marketers should work with data that has been thoroughly scrubbed before it goes into the data warehouse. Businesses should generate and store as much data as possible as it pertains to every aspect of the business that can affect a campaign. The key is to proactively build the data, not to think it’s easy to add the data after campaign launch.
2. Introduce pixel tracking analytics. Marketers should leverage their company’s website, not only as marketing tools and a conduit for sales, but as a data generating vehicle. IT and marketing can work together to introduce pixel tracking, where tracking is placed on the various websites used by the company, whether it’s mobile, a microsite, or another location. Social media information can be tracked and analyzed using social media pixel tracking, so you can understand how Facebook ads are performing. Such tracking also provides user device data, so marketers can better understand if sales are coming from mobile or web consumers, and can see the trend over time.

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