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Big Data sounds intimidating to us marketers. We’re advertising experts, not software programmers, right? But don’t be afraid of that nasty data term. Big Data is not just a buzzword. As a modern marketing professional, this is the information you need to know.

In a nutshell, Big Data refers to the ever-growing amounts of information you can use to monitor your brand and your marketing department’s performance, all while keeping a finger on customer experience.

Big Data can be complex, but you might be able to manage it in-house (if not, there is software available). To determine how much data you’re dealing with, we break Big Data down into two types of information:

  • structured data
  • and unstructured data

What is Structured Data?

Structured data is information maintained inside your business. Practically anything you keep on a spreadsheet or in a filing cabinet falls into this category:

  • sales spreadsheets
  • purchase orders
  • calendars
  • old sales forecasts
  • financials

Structured data is solid evidence of your company’s performance. The benefit of structured data is that it is easily searchable and patterns come clear quickly.

  • The point of using software to analyze your structured data is to find patterns you may be missing regarding your best sales days/products/markets.
  • We can make multiple comparisons with software.
  • You can find out where most of your customers are coming from, what they’re spending, and which advertising campaigns they reacted to.

The only real challenge is that someone has to do a whole lot of data entry to make this information searchable. See, it’s more straightforward than you thought!

Until we get into the realms of Unstructured Data.

What Is Unstructured Data?

Human beings generate Unstructured Data. It comes from countless sources and is much harder for humans or software to analyze. It includes:

  • online reviews like Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Google reviews
  • social media posts, “likes” and “shares”
  • “Tweets”
  • customer service phone calls or emails
  • inbound complaints
  • positive or negative reports in the media, like a negative feature about your business on the local news
  • scientific information in the press, like weather reports that affect travel
  • image-based platforms, like Instagram
  • chatrooms in online games

Software developers are struggling to create reliable algorithms to study this sort of information. It’s difficult because platforms change quickly.

Unstructured data may be challenging to monitor, but it has a direct and immediate effect on your bottom line!

If you’ve ever had a rash of 1-star reviews or been put on blast on social media in a negative way, you know what we mean.

Consumers trust each other, and online reviews have mostly replaced “word of mouth” advertising. That’s why quality advertising and reputation management are key to your business.

How to Benefit From Big Data Analysis

Whether done by software or a staffer, use big data analysis is to dial in your marketing efforts.

Let’s consider Google PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns for instance. You can use software or staff to research which phrases worked best, in which geographical areas, and on what dates. Then, you can be more focused in the future with your PPC budget, spending more during specific weeks or months, or targeting a particular market.

  • Big data management can take the guesswork out of marketing.

Even the smallest organizations can benefit from a “boots on the ground” approach to big data. Maybe you employ a millennial who would love to be tasked with online reputation management for an hourly wage. Have them monitor all the big review sites and Facebook for a start.

Our Role 

The staff at Onstage Publications are branding experts! We publish this blog to help keep our advertisers and performing arts organizations in-the-know about the hottest marketing topics. As always, if you need professional program booksdigital signage, or direct mail contact with an elite audience, reach out to us today.

Related Resources:

Investopedia: Big Data Definition

Structured vs. Unstructured Data

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