How Does Marketing Use Big Data?

Big data refers to a large amount of data, both organized and random, about a company’s customers, trends, market and more. Companies use big data in a number of ways to make sound, educated decisions. One area where big data is an asset is marketing.

Data in general is one of a marketing team’s most important tools. Collecting information on customer trends, patterns and habits allows marketing teams to focus their efforts on the needs of their customers. One benefit of big data in marketing is the insight this kind of data provides into how to retain and maintain a customer base. Some online MBA programs concentrate on the value of big data in marketing because it is the field that benefits most from strategic data usage.

How Marketing Teams Use Data

The marketing field is changing. With more focus on digital trends and audiences, marketing teams are spending less time and money on traditional marketing and more in digital channels. This means marketers have to be vigilant with analytics, as the digital world is constantly evolving. Marketing teams use data in the following ways:

  • Analyzing their customers’ habits including purchase behavior and history.
  • Determining which marketing approach (traditional or digital) is working better for their customer base.
  • Understanding customer preferences.
  • Making sure their efforts to reach their customers are working.
  • Predicting their customers’ future spending behavior.

Data provides a baseline of information for marketing teams to draw from. Used well, data can help marketing teams determine which efforts are working and which need modification. Using data also gives marketing teams an extra edge because they can fix a problem in real time rather than waiting until after the problem has already driven customers away.

Benefits of Big Data

Big data gives marketing teams a “complete picture” view. Rather than simply analyzing one set of marketing data, big data provides a broader picture so marketing teams can make more educated plans. For instance, looking solely at data on social media marketing efforts will not give teams much insight into traditional marketing efforts. However, comparing these two sets of marketing data gives marketing teams a more complete understanding of which effort is working and how their customers are responding. It can also show a correlation between a traditional effort and social media — perhaps prospective customers see a billboard or a direct mail piece and then tweet about it. Combining data gives a better, more comprehensive view of a campaign or overall strategy.

Retaining customers is one of the key functions of a marketing team. Often, however, they only look at retention after the customer is already gone. Working backward like this is harder than trying to retain the customer before they leave. Big data in marketing provides insight into the lifecycle and behavior of a customer. If a marketing team can understand where the customer is in the lifecycle, they can instate a retention plan before the customer actually leaves. Big data helps marketers figure out which customers are engaged and which are at-risk. This gives marketers the opportunity to try to reengage those at-risk customers before it is too late. Using big data as a tool to maintain and predict will save a company a lot of hassle in the long run.

Understanding and using big data in marketing can make marketing teams more effective. The marketing data this provides gives teams insight into their customers’ habits that they may not have had access to before. Online MBA programs dedicate a fair portion of study to how big data benefits businesses. Marketing teams can make great use of big data, which ultimately results in a more effective department.

Learn more about the University of Tennessee Chattanooga online MBA in Business Analytics program.


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