According to author and big data expert Keith B. Carter, many businesses are setting themselves up for failure by not planning their big data analysis thoroughly. In fact, while big data is crucial to a marketing campaign, it can also potentially hinder marketing efforts if it isn’t being utilized properly. Here are some of the biggest big data management mistakes businesses are making.
1. They’re categorizing data too much. Of course segmenting data is important, but there needs to be a balance. If a company is more focused on categorizing data than they are on making sense of that data, their campaign is likely to suffer. The key to finding an ideal balance is by planning data analysis in advance. What are the top goals you hope to achieve from data analysis? What are the biggest questions you seek to answer? By knowing your core purpose from data analysis, you can categorize your data in a way that supports the core aims of your marketing campaign.
2. They’re failing to scale data effectively. Particularly for fast-growing companies, data can amass at record rates. You need to have an efficient strategy in place for scaling data as it accumulates, so you can continue to retain old data as new data enters the system. The cloud offers the most efficient and reliable way for scaling data, while also being cost-effective. You can store unlimited quantities of data in the cloud, and you don’t have to worry about excess data bogging down the system and slowing the network.
3. They’re answering the wrong questions. Perhaps the greatest benefit of big data is its ability to fuel marketing and increase ROI. However, ROI will suffer if marketing teams are wasting their time trying to answer the wrong questions. Big data should be used to answer the major questions of the company, rather than minor or petty concerns. If the question begins with the word ‘what,’ it’s likely a trivial question. Instead, seek to answer ‘why’ questions, so you can truly delve into the deeper issues your company is facing.
4. Correlation does not imply causation. You’ve likely heard the phrase a thousand times, but is your company taking it to heart? Businesses are often too quick to respond to small correlations, rather than taking the time to analyze big trends, resulting in wasted funds and ineffective marketing campaigns. Before acting on a correlation, you need to gain enough data to solidify the results and ensure the data is actually evidence of a legitimate trend.
5. They’re collecting data without forethought. When businesses hear that big data will fuel a marketing campaign, they often plunge in by collecting as much data as possible. Yet, collecting mass quantities of data without a strategic approach will leave you exhausted and confused. Raw data provides little value to marketers. That data needs to be effectively leveraged and segmented into manageable chunks in order to be of use.
6. They’re lumping clients together. After you’ve gathered the data, a common error is to assume each trend applies to the entire customer base. This is almost always incorrect. It’s important to note the varying demographics within each trend, so data analysis can reveal not only the trends, but the ways that trends differ among varying demographics.
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