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Time to stop drowning and start riding the Big Data wave

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Big Data is everything, marketing practitioners from agencies around the world agree. But it isn’t easy to stay abreast of it all and many feel overwhelmed by data, data, everywhere. Don’t be engulfed by the Big Data wave, says Bart Omlo – who brings together comments from senior marketers on how companies are adjusting their strategies and using the latest technology to keep up with the ever-increasing data flow.
Big Data wave

Many questions remain around big data. Are companies using it, interpreting it and actioning it? And, crucially, are they seeing the value from it? A study from Econsultancy found that the majority of marketers are actually poor at acting on insights derived from customer data.

But why, with gold dust at their fingertips, are they not able to leverage its power to deliver exceptional customer experiences?

There’s just so much of it.

Marketers are drowning in the stuff. The various martech platforms and content management systems deliver such a wave of powerful insights that it’s hard to prioritise. So they are turning to AI and machine learning to help make sense of it all and to fine-tune and automate it. After all, identifying user behaviour is still a key part of building customer engagement. But this solution is just another meal for the monster as it’s a cyclical process: using customer data drives the user experience, which in turn generates even more data to analyse, turn into insights and respond to with an even greater customer experience.

While the use of Big Data – especially actionable data – may depend on organisational size and sector, it’s always BIG. And it’s part of a digital marketer’s everyday life (or nightmare). Despite it being the best thing to come their way since the dawn of sales, getting Big Data to really work is not for the faint-hearted.

So, at the recent Kentico Roadshows in London and Amsterdam, we asked the experts – all senior agency marketing practitioners in leading agencies across Europe – for their views on data and riding the Big Data wave. Here’s what they said:

Henry France, Distinction, explained:

The main challenge is knowing what to do with Big Data. The hype around it has motivated people to invest in systems that measure everything possible. But it’s not an end in itself; it’s a tool that provides valuable insights, especially into customers.



It is also used to drive emerging technologies such as chatbots, said Jonathan Healey at NetConstruct:



Don’t underestimate the power of Big Data. It is pervasive — and, if you’re implementing websites, it’s ALL about Big Data. But once you have overcome the technical and managerial challenges, it can form the foundation for powerful marketing — especially personalisation with better relevancy and authenticity, which is one of the key goals for today’s marketers.

Marc Vieleers at EXLRT said:



Strike out for relevancy when riding the Big Data wave

Companies are all drowning in data. The ones keeping their heads above water and starting to do a confident front crawl are the ones that can extract the right data using interoperable business systems to help.

It’s a serious challenge, especially for those managing content, explained Marco Willemsen, Frontis:



We also have to work out where we’re going to store this unfathomable amount of data and how — a key topic as GDPR approaches.

Diana Erskine at Reading Room asked if it’s time to employ a data analyst who can break it all down and home in on what best serves us.



So, Big Data is a powerful source of marketing intelligence that enables critical decisions to be made that can dramatically improve sales through unprecedented personalised customer experiences. Yet marketers often still feel they are drowning in it.

The way we collect data in the coming years is set to change with the introduction of GDPR. And we may well see less personal data coming in. But the quality of the data will likely be much higher and therefore more actionable and effective. So companies need to get to grips with Big Data now (especially as AI and digital assistants fuel further growth) so they know which data to focus on in the future — the kind that builds close relationships with engaged customers.

Yes, Big Data is BIG, both in challenge and reward. So don’t give in to the overwhelm. Analyse. Streamline. You won’t regret it.

Have an opinion on this article? Please join in the discussion: the GMA is a community of data driven marketers and YOUR opinion counts.

Bart Omlo
Author: Bart Omlo
Senior VP Sales EMEA & Latin America at Kentico |

Bart Omlo has more than 15 years’ experience in the web content management and online marketing industry. As former CEO of a Dutch web agency and member of the European JBoye CMS Expert Group, he has a broad vision on the changing world of internet technology and how businesses can benefit from it.

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