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Big Data presents big opportunities for marketers in 2013

According to technology research firm Gartner’s “Big Data Drives Rapid Changes in Infrastructure and $232 Billion in IT Spending Through 2016” report, enterprises have initiated $4.3 billion in Big Data technology investments this year alone. The report also predicts that figure will continue to scale dramatically towards $232 billion through 2016. Although many businesses are still struggling to understand the role Big Data plays within their organizations, Gartner states that businesses will spend $34 billion in 2013 to gain the critical business insights necessary through upgrades and new initiatives.

These figures represent a significant investment for enterprise infrastructure teams to accommodate; however, as marketers continue to drive their business with data-centric analysis and approaches, an awareness of the data management issues at hand becomes mission-critical. While perspectives may vary across the industry, most data acquisition is being driven by marketing-centric campaigns, whether through call center records, sales figures, purchase history, web self-service, or promotions.  As marketers continue to drive data acquisition, new responsibilities will emerge—especially as integration with infrastructure colleagues becomes necessary to collect, store, and analyze customer service experiences to minimize service overhead and maximize customer loyalty. Many companies are beginning to discover that managing data proliferation across multiple technologies and service touch points is no easy task due to the sheer scale and complexity of data acquisition.

Big Data analytics, and specifically customer experience analytics, have emerged as an approach that equips organizations with the ability to connect information silos that may exist across disparate data centers, business departments, and software systems. When companies can reveal a 360-degree view of their customers across all of their information silos, businesses become empowered to make more strategic decisions to nurture existing customers, while allowing marketers to begin mapping individual service experiences across multiple points of service. Once these customer journeys are captured and processed, marketers can begin extrapolating insights and initiate predictive capabilities to map future service pitfalls that may arise from new product launches or customer relationship management technology deployments.

IT pros will surely have their hands full implementing the $4 billion investment businesses have made this year. With these technologies in place, marketers now have a unique opportunity to capture insights and capitalize on infrastructure investments that might not normally have been made available. 

At ClickFox, we predict that marketers will continue to explore how Big Data initiatives can be integrated into campaigns and service strategies, and that research teams will continue to adopt more robust analytics programs to capture customer behavior accurately. Specifically, we predict:

  • Real time inches toward reality. Imagine a customer service representative attempting to resolve a customer issue. Previously, the representative would interact with a rigid CRM system that provides access to basic account details and purchase history. Now, imagine an experience where the customer data is rich enough to go beyond simple problem resolution. With customer experience analytics solutions in place, new systems could be integrated to capitalize on previous service experiences and push discounts or other special offers to customers, encouraging brand loyalty. The desire to achieve this type of real-time data access is causing the integration of marketing departments and technologies to be a main theme of 2013, with the support of continued IT investment.
  • Predictive capabilities realized. Businesses rely on accurate planning for managing future financial risk and opportunity.  As organizations fully realize their big data initiatives and begin mapping full customer experiences, companies will be able to better predict service paths across touch points based on accurate history. As historical data sets are further analyzed, marketers can begin compiling data into personas to better understand customer behavior resulting from positive and negative service experiences. With this perspective in mind, marketing can hyper-target customer segments by behavioral patterns ensuring that consumers are engaged in a customized approach to interactions and communications.
  • Same title. New responsibilities. As marketing leads new initiatives to use data insights in 2013, leadership will empower multiple business departments to experience the value available through accurate analytics. In addition to continuing to lead customer nurturing and engagement, marketing departments will begin to emerge as ambassadors for data insights, while they continue to collaborate with their infrastructure management peers to store, secure, and analyze customer records.

Big Data analytics provides a greater opportunity for marketers to gain visibility within the enterprise, and will continue to make headlines as businesses work to capture mobile and geo-targeted customer perspectives.

According to additional research by IBM and the University of Oxford, only 28 percent of organizations have Big Data projects in motion, and 24 percent lack Big Data initiatives at this time. As customer data creation and acquisition continues to scale to new levels with social media insights, the business and marketing executives leading data analysis programs will now have a distinct advantage in increasing customer loyalty and mitigating service overhead in the future.

Jeff Gossman is vice president of product marketing at ClickFox.

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