Why big data analytics is digital marketing’s best friend


Over the course of the last several years, our marketing team has been on a mission to find business value from data using analytics. In my role, I focus on demand generation via online channels, both inbound and outbound.  As our web footprint has grown, so has our data and its irrevocable bond with digital marketing. As digital marketers, big data analytics is our best friend because we receive big data - both structured and unstructured - from web activities across dozens of touchpoints. We certainly recognize the potential of the data, so it is imperative that we turn this digital data into business value.

There are a few important ways we use the big data analytics to enhance our digital marketing.

Digital Marketing and Big Data Analytics

  1. Search: We are able to collect and utilize behavior from our largest traffic source. Using  SAS solutions, we combine above median usage metrics – recency, depth, duration, high value content – with other online conversions to identify a customer acquisition opportunity or trigger alerts for our current customer marketing efforts. This is a big deal for us. I still wish we had keywords – I criticized Google for restricting them here a little while back  – but what we have is working for us.
  2. Lead Nurturing: Big data analytics is a boon for lead nurturing. Not only does it enhance what we have been doing for a while now , but it gives us capabilities we did not have before. For example: By enhancing outbound nurture emails with web behavior and topics of interest, you become more proficient with your targeting. Can you tell if I am interested in ‘digital marketing'  or ‘big data analytics' by the download of one white paper or report? We have found that by adding metadata and URL data into the equation, we can pinpoint this much better. This approach works extremely well for both customer acquisition and customer marketing campaigns.
  3. Descriptive Analytics & eCommerce: I am still new to the eCommerce space, but there is some siginificant opportunity for big data analytics here. When you really try to improve customer experience across multiple customer touchpoints, using web analytics (we use SAS Adaptive Customer Experience) provides you descriptive examples of the customer journey. For example, it would have been guesswork to identify all of the ‘steps’ in a customer’s online purchase. Instead we used data mining techniques to pull together web behavior, offline activity and data from chat/inbound inquiries to tell stories about what customers needed and wanted from this experience. This provides insights for - among other things - UI design, content requirements, offer management and conversion strategy.

I tried to visualize it here, but it doesn’t do true justice to the rigor that went into the customer journey exercise.

The customer journey with potential data points
The customer journey with potential data points

Digital Marketing and Big Data Analytics Resources

Big data analytics will continue to force marketers to modify and develop their skillsets. There are a handful of really smart people online that are talking about this. Scott Brinker is one and I encourage you to follow his Chief Marketing Technologist blog. I should also mention a number of informational resources that SAS has researched, developed and continues to invest in:

Do you have any 'big data analytics' stories that have helped you become better digital marketers?


About Author

Will Waugh

Will Waugh is an interactive marketer at SAS. Areas of expertise include: digital marketing, lead nurturing, ecommerce, marketing automation, search, marketing analytics and evolving our use of SAS Customer Intelligence solutions. His career spans across multiple marketing disciplines including advertising, promotions, marketing analytics, social and digital marketing. Follow on Twitter: @willwaugh

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