The role of technology in marketing: Big data

Marketing is a sector well placed to take advantage of technological advances in order to improve its offering.

Research by Gartner has shown that at the start of 2014, 81 per cent of organisations employed the equivalent of a chief marketing technologist to make sure they are keeping their finger on the pulse.

This compares favourably with only 70 per cent from 12 months previously and this pattern of growth is expected to continue in the years to come. "The chief marketing officer needs a senior trusted advisor skilled in the art of evaluating and implementing technology-enabled solutions," the report states.

The value of data

Collecting and interpreting data is increasingly important to the role of marketers, as this way they can better hone their campaigns in an effort to boost return on investment. When you consider that 90 per cent of the world's data has been created in the last two years, companies need to have an effective method in place for analysing this information if they want to be successful.

Technology can give marketers consistent results and scale when employed correctly. This is why big data provides such an opportunity for marketers, as it can be used in conjunction with a series of digital channels, such as social media, email, display advertising and paid search.

Why use big data?

According to statistics from McKinsey & Company, marketing professionals using big data and marketing analytics effectively will boost productivity rates and profits by five per cent and six per cent respectively when compared to their peers. On top of this, 65 per cent of marketing industry leaders have turned to tangible measurement and data to take marketing decisions that are evidence based.

The report points out that companies who have the most data are not necessarily best placed to succeed, as they still need to know how to use it in the right way.

Big data best practice

High-quality accurate data is an imperative, as marketers will not be able to develop successful new strategies if they cannot rely on the information they are being given. This is why regular data accuracy checks, data cleaning and data suppression are all critical. For example, a point-of-capture software tool is able to guide data input and make sure information is correct as it is entered.

The issue of security will always be relevant and companies need to use a mixture of firewalls, encryption, audit logs and passwords to protect sensitive information. If customer's details fall into the wrong hands, it could do untold reputational damage to a brand. As part of this data protections systems have to be in place so that nothing is lost or accidentally deleted.

Big data has already proved its usefulness for certain realms. For example, meaningful patterns can now be identified in both digital advertising and email, as these areas are well understood. But by committing to best practices, marketers will be able to access high-quality data that can drive the industry forward in all areas.