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The relationship between marketing and high technology is increasingly strong – the days of dog-eared clipboards, cold calling and blind direct mailing are definitely numbered – to be replaced by insights derived from ‘Big Data’.

But obviously we don’t all have the time and resources to build a huge ‘nudge engine’ like Amazon or Ebay, nor do most people running small businesses have the ability to click their fingers and create an infrastructure like Walmart – a company whose databases handle more than one million transactions per hour. This is a data volume of more than 2,500 terabytes – upon which you could store all the books in the US House of Congress 167 times.


Fortunately, with the right assistance, small and medium sized enterprises can now harness the power of big data in a cost-effective fashion, helping you maximise:

  • Customer engagement. Not just who your customers are, but where they are, what they want, how they want to be contacted and when.
  • Customer retention and loyalty. Discover what influences customers and what keeps them coming back again and again.
  • Marketing optimization/performance. Optimise marketing programmes and spend across multiple channels through testing, measurement and analysis.

This white paper strives to act as a primer for those intrigued by this new marketing frontier – what big data is, what it is, how it can be used and what you can do to lose your “big data fear”. Furthermore, there’s no time like the present – it is estimated global data volume will increase by a factor of 44 between the period of 2009 and 2020! At 2013 this trend remains accurate.



What is Big Data?


Did You Know….

Every 60 seconds:

  • 98,000+ Tweets are posted
  • 695,000 Facebook status updates are posted
  • 11million instant messages are sent
  • 698,445 Google searches are carried out
  • 168million+ emails are sent
  • 1,820TB of data is created
  • 217 new mobile web users are active


In essence, Big Data is anything which can be collated in order to solve business objectives. This can include the following sources and many more besides:

  • Website analytics – we’re talking visitor tracking, landing pages, third-party brand mentions and much more
  • Email campaigns – capturing the way traffic between employees and the outside world
  • Blogs – many companies are just entering the blogosphere – let alone adopting comprehensive analysis of content, response and related interaction
  • CRM datasets – some businesses are gaining an ever-increasingly nuanced picture of their customer base. However, a recent survey by Forbes in association with analysts Rocket Fuel found more than 40% of companies are unable to figure out who likes their products, and 45% are unable to determine why their clients like their products
  • Social media output – Twitter handles 5,700 tweets per second – and there are 1.5 billion active worldwide users on Facebook. A single Tweet can give data miners up to 400 pieces of information
  • Mobile communications – there are currently 5 billion mobile phone users – and we haven’t reached anywhere near saturation point yet
  • Multimedia – the ability to monitor radio, video, audio and other formats
  • Traditional telecoms – a prominent computer brand is in the process of converting all switchboard conversations into text
  • Approximately 80% of ‘big data’ in all its forms is unstructured, so it requires a good deal of know-how in order to process and analyse it


Vastly more power, vastly less cost

  • Businesses worldwide are benefitting from exponential increases in processing power and associated drop in cost – the original mapping of the human genome took ten years – now it is possible to carry out the same process in less than a week. What’s more, advances in cloud computing and open source software also mean big data is increasingly within reach of small businesses
  • Tools such as Hadoop, Twitter Storm, Yahoo’s S4 and other proprietary tools alongside the rise of data market resellers – companies set up to do the lion’s share of the processing and analysis for you –  make it possible for these great advances in marketing


How can big data help?

In essence, wouldn’t it be easier to solve a problem (i.e. how to increase sales revenue from a particular marketing campaign, spot market trends or improve product development) if you could draw inference from 200 criteria rather than say, just six? Wouldn’t this be especially true if these findings were presented with user-friendly visualisation techniques? Ultimately there is plenty of concrete evidence – alongside common sense – to demonstrate that:

Increased data = more confident decision making = greater efficiency

Never have marketers had the capacity to know so much about their customers at a granular level – but how does this manifest itself? According to Matthew Mayfield, group director of data for marketing agency Ogilvy EMEA: “The old school thinking has always been to hold your data; it’s a bit like wanting to have a reservoir that is stocked to the gills with water so that if you do ever need some it’s there.

“The new way of thinking about it is more like trying to read the river; you’re trying to spot patterns. There are numerous pots of information that exist in a digital ecosystem that agencies can tap into to try and understand more about the consumer and what the consumer wants.”

Not only was big data used in the campaign to re-elect Barak Obama and in the calculations used within CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, as well as leading UK politicians, it is also increasingly used by the marketing department of SMEs to break consumer types down into ever more nuanced sub-groups, to the point of leaving mere demographics behind and entering the realm of trying to predict intentions, behaviour, preferences and peer influence – in what is known as propensity modelling.


So what is possible?

A range of practical solutions to business objectives can be achieved with big data, such as:

  • Determine root causes of failures, issues and defects in near-real time with significant potential savings
  • Optimise stock keeping units (SKUs) in order to maximise profit and product circulation
  • Generate retail coupons at the point of sale based on the customer’s current and past purchases
  • Send tailored recommendations to mobile devices while customers are in the right area to take advantage of offers. Incentivising a consumer’s consent to the use of their data is crucial
  • Quickly identify customers who matter the most – greatly simplifying the process of qualifying leads and turning a first-time user into a brand ambassador
  • Use click-stream analysis and data mining to detect fraudulent behaviour not the data itself.


Big Data in action 

Here are some examples of how organisations have employed big data to revolutionise the way they operate:

Constant Contact 

Analysing 35 billion emails to optimise customer communication:

  • Vastly improved timing of campaigns to maximise sales
  • Building effective teaser campaigns and real time mass testing
  • Increasing the success of online campaigns 15%-25% across a variety of sectors

Trident Marketing

Learn how to use Big Data to gain previously unattainable insights into consumer behaviour

  • Near tenfold increase in revenue over four years (£10 million to £104 million – 2007-2011)
  • Analysis of keyword effectiveness every 15 minutes
  • Identify potentially most profitable customers within 30 minutes

Bristol Myers Squibb

This pharmaceutical company utilised big data software in conjunction with a variety of analytical and visualisation tools to:

  • Make smarter decisions about which drugs to bring to market
  • Predicting likely profitability based on previous data histories
  • Communicate with stakeholders with greater clarity



Next Steps

If you’re excited by the possibilities of big data, contact Sales Accelerant TODAY to arrange a free consultancy session, during which we’ll explain:

1.       How best to go about gathering data and insight building

2.       Lead scoring

3.       Developing an effective sales campaign strategy

4.       Ultimately converting the data into a sales pipeline of qualified leads

By the end of the session you will have produced a step-by-step plan to introduce a sales lead generation campaign strategy which delivers consistent sales results and which doesn’t annoy your prospects in the process. Don’t leave your 2014 sales pipeline to chance!


Call us NOW on 0845 3058145 or email us to arrange your Big Data Session!