Big Data is the biggest game-changing opportunity for marketing and sales since the Internet went mainstream almost 20 years ago. That statement often prompts vigorous head nodding from executives, but is quickly followed by head scratching. “How can we make this happen?”
We’ve recently published a multimedia eBook Big Data, Analytics, and the Future of Marketing & Sales that attempts to answer that question. Organizations today face overwhelming amounts of data, organizational complexity, rapidly changing customer behaviors, and increased competitive pressures. New technologies as well as rapidly proliferating channels and platforms have created a massively complex environment. At the same time, the explosion in data and digital technologies has opened up an unprecedented array of insights into customer needs and behaviors.
Some companies are already turning that Big Data promise into reality. Those that use Big Data and analytics effectively show productivity rates and profitability that are 5 – 6 percent higher than those of their peers. McKinsey analysis of more than 250 engagements over five years has revealed that companies that put data at the center of the marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment (MROI) by 15 – 20 percent. That adds up to $150 – $200 billion of additional value based on global annual marketing spend of an estimated $1 trillion.
Data on its own, however, is nothing more than 1s and 0s. The companies that succeed today do three things well:
1. Use analytics to identify valuable opportunities. Successful discovery requires building a data advantage by pulling in relevant data sets from both within and outside the company. Relying on mass analysis of those data, however, is often a recipe for failure. Analytics leaders take the time to develop “destination thinking,” which is writing down in simple sentences the business problems they want to solve or questions they want answered. These need to go beyond broad goals such as “increase wallet share” and get down to a level of specificity that is meaningful.