Like the shiny new car and the latest game console and even the trendiest boots, big data is starting to feel comfortable. Instead of that “new car smell”, it’s got a little wear on it. A little of last week’s Chinese takeout and a whole lot of your gym bag make it — not unappealing — but no longer mysteriously new and exciting. We’re not “over” big data, but we’re okay with lounging around the apartment with it, wearing baggy sweats and a coffee-stained T-shirt instead of having to dress up and take it out to impress it.
Our comfortable relationship with big data also means we’re more familiar with big data in marketing. The tools aren’t so uncomfortable in our hands. The analytical insights are no longer shocking. Marketers are getting a handle on what it takes to do big data right.
So, if 2016 is the year we got comfortable enough with big data to let it see us in sweats, what does 2017 hold? It’s likely to be the year we ask it to move in with us and start sharing some of these enormous bills. Here’s what to look for.
1. All the Hype Subsides Into Reality
You know how your favorite football team shows up at kickoff with the jitters? Missed passes, clumsy fumbles, false starts … Then, by the 2nd quarter, they’ve settled down a bit and they’re ready to play ball? We’re there with big data marketing now. All of the hype that’s dominated discussions for the past few years is settling down into normalcy. Data analytics isn’t new anymore, and we aren’t slack-jawed seeing what the latest tools are capable of. It’s time for the hype to give way to success in the real-world trenches.
2. Big Data Marketing Talent Shortages Get Real
Unfortunately, as big data marketing becomes mainstream, great talent becomes scarce. While many colleges, universities, and even online learning institutions are ramping up data science programs by the boatloads, there is still a glaring lack of talent lining up at the local job fairs. Your best bet in the meantime is to invest in the employee enrichment programs you need to develop your own big data marketing talent in-house. Just be sure you’re paying them what they’re worth in the marketplace, or you’ll simply be training employees for your competitors. Ouch.
3. Analytical Tools Become More Mature & Integrated
We’re already seeing excellent tools that collect and analyze data. What needs to mature and improve is the integration aspect — systems that easily and seamlessly connect and share data for more powerful analytical capabilities. Look for the tools released next year to have more integration capabilities and improved maturity in terms of analytical insights derived from multiple disparate systems around the workplace and marketing department.
4. Marketing Tools Evolve to Include Prescriptive Analytics
To date, the predominance of big data marketing tools have been predictive. For instance, the marketing tools are pretty good at determining that tablet computers are in, Harry Potter-inspired glasses frames are out, and sweatpants for dress occasions should never have been in to begin with. Ever. But we digress. Tomorrow’s big data marketing tools will go a step further. They’ll be prescriptive: not just telling the marketer what’s up, but advising what to do next.
Start marketing your ultra-cool tablets before the holiday rush. Instead of Harry Potter-esque frames, start marketing your more square-ish eyeglasses frames. Ban sweatpants for all except the most casual affairs (by Presidential Executive Order, if necessary. You have our full support). While predictive analytics tools probably won’t be mainstream by the end of 2017, you’ll certainly begin seeing some of these tools becoming available to the savvier marketers.
5. Big Data Marketing Faces Increased Challenges Related to Consumer Privacy
Mixed in with the sunshine and daffodils is a warning for big data marketing: don’t go all Big Brother on us. While consumers, in general, have been more or less accepting of the intrusiveness, marketers who push the envelope could very well face public backlash, and potentially incite government intervention. Tread carefully, friends.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.