We are equally familiar with Big Data and brand marketing. But the connection between the two is not always acknowledged. Beware of this antediluvian perspective as it could create unpropitious circumstances for your business in future.
We are aware that branding is creating, promoting and maintaining market identity for your business. Regardless of what your product or service is and what branding strategies you are employing, the quintessence of branding remains impressing your customers and this demands proper understanding of your customers’ behavior and effectively communicating with them. This is where big data comes into the picture.
Big data is used to refer to the enormous amount of both structured and unstructured data bombarding your business on a daily basis. Big data in itself is of little use. It is the meaningful data you can derive from it that matters. More data does not imply better marketing unless your data analysis and branding strategies are effective and in accordance with each other. This can pose a challenge to many brand managers and marketers.
There is a misconception that big data is beyond the realm of scientific methods for interpretation. This gives marketers an adverse excuse which may put the future of the business at risk. There is no evidence that scientific approaches only work for less or incomplete data. In fact, more data if processed unscientifically can lead to disasters unlike analysis of less data.
There are times when brand marketers are left clueless in the deluge of big data around them. Interestingly enough, in such times when and what to do with big data remains a puzzle. What not to do with it could help them get insights into what can be done.
The above strategy can be deployed to identify the essential information randomly hidden in the big data ecosystem. The marketers must adopt scientific methods and analytics to identify and control the useless data or noise in the big data.
“There isn’t any more truth in the world than there was before the Internet or the printing press. Most of the data is just noise, as most of the universe is filled with empty space.” — Nate Silver
Humans have an ability of spotting patterns. This ability is not always advantageous as it can backfire. We may end up seeing patterns where none exists. Analyzing big data unscientifically can evoke our propensity to observe patterns and this could lead us to believe in certain causations without any scientific basis and our business will have to pay a heavy price in the end. This calls for a scientific approach to find patterns only if they exist.
Where more is better
The malfunctioning of forecasting is usually not due to lack of data but because of poor quality of data and theory. Therefore, branding marketers should focus on better analysis than accumulating more data. ‘Better’ and not more should be the focal point. There are however places where more data would mean better analysis. Such instances are as follows:
• More data can prove useful in areas where little or no data are available
• More data can help in areas where currently available data are incorrect or flawed
Nonetheless, one should always remember that more data is better only when the analysis is appropriate and effective.
Integrate to see the big picture
Marketers are advised to integrate all sorts of data about their customers including behavioral, demographic and transactional data so that it makes sense. The idea is not to combine the data and make it more complex and taxing to interpret, but to draw mutually supporting inferences from various data sets giving you more complete and reliable analysis.
Overlooking the human perspective
What the data-driven marketers often overlook is the fact that people are not a bundle of data. The marketers would spend all their time focusing on analytics like page views, shares, time on site et cetera but forget to take into account the truth that live human beings are behind all the data.
Tracking to foresee
No one is unaware of the importance of focusing on potential and actual customers in brand marketing. But your understanding of your customers should not be confined to the insights you get from their interactions with your website or its social channels. This gives only fragmented understanding of your customers. It is recommended that you use analytical tools that track their real-time content interactions before they engage with your brand. By doing so, you get insights into the customers’ behavior and understand their needs. These insights help to streamline your content to your potential customers and enable you to elevate your relationship with actual customers.
Big data gives you insights into your audience and customers in particular. Understanding each customer lets you personalize your content to meet the interests and needs of every customer. This gives your brand marketing a remarkable competitive advantage.
Venturing into new grounds
Robust experimentation on actual customers to test innovative and flexible ideas can make your brand marketing more colorful and intriguing. But no marketer should get carried away with experimentation and overdo testing on customers. This may do more harm than good. Also, branding marketers should keep in mind that experimentation doesn’t simply mean testing all new ideas. It should be testing ideas that are scientifically stable and have a potential to succeed.