It’s been well documented that big data is giving a big boost to so many different industries and fields. Organizations all over the world have expressed interest in adopting big data solutions, all in the hopes of creating sustained growth and success. Big data has proven to be quite versatile, and perhaps no area has seen its use of big data grow more than in the marketing world. Before big data became such a popular concept, marketers already worked with data of various types, all in the effort to draw more attention to their businesses and get more customers to buy particular products and services. The growth of big data has been useful for marketers, but it’s also been a double edged sword in several ways. If anything, the challenges with big data have been formidable for marketers, making it difficult for them to connect the data collected from the large number of sources they now use.
Marketers are certainly no strangers to technology, but the amount they need to use today has dwarfed anything that has come before. According to one recent survey, more than half of all marketing organizations now 21 or more technologies, a number that has gone up considerably in the past few years. Those technologies introduce a number of added complexities to the marketing process while also involving even more types of data. Big data collected from a smartphone, for example, will be much different from data gathered from social media listening. While most marketers and other businesses view collecting as much data as possible as a net positive, integrating all of that data from these various technologies has turned into one big complicated task. In fact, the same survey shows that 52 percent of marketing companies say integration of so many different technologies is the largest hurdle to successful marketing.
This concept can probably best be explained in the number of marketing systems these organization already have to deal with. Most marketing companies tackle systems such as customer relationship management software, big management and tracking, web sources, and marketing automation software. It’s a lot to take in, and each system collects its own unique brand of data. Whether tracking the number of impressions made, conversation rates in online sales, or calculating click-through rates, marketers have their hands full. Now add in integrating all that data into one coherent system, and connecting that big data to each other can become overwhelming in its scope and complexity.
Complicating matters even further is the fact that many businesses, not just marketers, have organizational silos. This not only divides companies into departments that rarely collaborate, it silos the data those divisions use. Without the free flow of information between different departments, marketers can only get a partial view of what is really happening. This makes creating all those necessary connections unnecessarily difficult.
That doesn’t mean marketers should despair, however. Big data introduces many issues and complications, but it can also be used to discover solutions. Informatica, for example, has talked in detail about how it was able to integrate all the data the company was collecting in a relatively short amount of time. Some of the steps that company took could serve as a guide for other marketing organizations. Those steps include taking data from the various marketing apps they use and moving it into a centralized data lake. Informatica also created a data pipeline, giving the company the ability to get fast results from anything their marketers queried. The data the company collected and analyzed was also continuously monitored to ensure it was of high quality and integrity. While these steps may not be a perfect blueprint for all marketing organizations, they still show that data integration is not too far out of reach.
The benefits from data integration essentially allow marketers to finally make the right connections that will boost their marketing efforts. While it’s true marketers are using more technology than ever before, whether in the form of the cloud or what is flash storage, that level of use shouldn’t prevent them from experiencing unparalleled growth. It’s in making these connections that marketing organizations will have the most success when using big data.