How to blend Big Data with agile marketing

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Today’s marketers have access to a lot of data about their audience, everything from personal information, online shopping preferences, time spent on websites, the locations they’ve been to, where they work, and more. The information is being logged somewhere, by someone, and it’s all there for marketers to use.

Yet with so much data available, you can feel like you’re drowning in numbers, charts, and data. So you pick-and-choose the data that suits your needs, and miss the truly insightful data that could be making a real difference in your business.

Data-driven marketing is becoming a larger part of the modern marketer’s toolkit, and the successful ones are using it to find actionable insights they can apply in a real-world setting to grow their business. These days everyone’s got access to Big Data, but it’s what they’re doing with it that makes the difference.

Which is why many of them have combined Big Data with agile marketing (AM). Adopting the dynamic mindset of agile software development, AM gives marketing teams the freedom to respond quickly to changes in their audience, collaborate easily with other internal teams in the organization as well as external influencers, and most importantly, change their marketing philosophy from large, overarching campaigns to smaller, targeted marketing “experiments”.

Big Data adds another layer to AM by giving marketers real-world perspective on their customers. Gone are the days of relying on instinct and gut “feel” with a marketing campaign. Now, marketers can try new ideas and strategies quickly, with low risk and investment. If it’s successful, you can add more resources to it; if it’s not, move on to the next idea.

Here are four ways you can use Big Data + agile marketing to find out exactly what resonates best with your audience.

  1. Analyze your own marketing data to see how customers are interacting with you. Look at all the data you’ve already collected and see how you’re doing. Look at your website data to see which pages they’re visiting, what links they’re clicking on, and what content they’re downloading. Your social media data can tell you what topics interest them based on what they’re sharing most. But don’t just look at the traditional data; computing tools using Hadoop can help you filter through your data to find the insights most useful to you. Platforms include Hortonworks, Cloudera, IBM BigInsights, SAS, HP, and Pivotal.
  2. Create ultra-specific buyer personas. Big Data can help you create the most detailed and specific buyer personas you’ve ever had, going beyond the typical age, work profile, and other demographics you’ve used in the past. Now you can dive down into the most granular levels of information on your audience, finding out which buttons they click on websites, how much of their day is spent reading online marketing content, and the ratio of local to international websites they visit. Add this to their social media habits, and you’ve got a the most specific buyer persona you’ve ever worked with.
  3. Investigate predictive lead scoring to find out what content’s moving your buyers down the sales pipeline. The B2B sales pipeline is long, which is why B2B marketers are always on the look-out for the marketing content that does the best job of moving buyers forward in it. Content scoring and predictive lead scoring can help you do that. It’ll give you more specific content avenues to explore, identifying the precise content or topic that’s having the most success.
  4. Try out content ideas quickly. Traditional marketing campaigns often took months to plan and execute. AM lets marketers plan out mini versions of their campaigns and test them out on live audiences, to see if it’s a viable option. Marketers can then shift resources based on the results of the that test, either ramping up into full marketing mode, or moving on to another test idea if the first one’s unsuccessful. All in a matter of weeks or days.

Are you using Big Data in your marketing? How about Agile Marketing? Share with us in the comments.

Photo via LinkedIn

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Julia Borgini

Julia Borgini

Julia Borgini is a technology writer, copywriter and consultant for B2B technology companies. She helps them connect with people and grow their business with helpful content and copy. Visit her website to see who she’s helping today: www.spacebarpress.com
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