Metrics and data analytics have always been important for strategic marketers. After all, metrics and data analytics inform marketers of what's successful—and what's not.

Companies today have the ability to harness the power of vast and complex data sets more than ever. The amount of data can seem daunting, but companies can make data manageable by addressing a specific business issue with that information.

Moreover, Big Data may be an organization's most effective tool for delivering the kind of customer experience that differentiates a brand from the rest of the pack.

The Importance of a Big Data Strategy

Big Data gives brands the ability to rapidly convert data-based insights into key business improvements. Historically, the use of data was limited by relatively small data sets, long processing times, and labor-intensive business rules, but the latest Big Data tools have changed all of that.

Analysts now have access to...

  • More data—Instead of relying on a handful of structured data-delivery vehicles, organizations can now capture insights from a much larger pool of structured and unstructured data sources. In the past, diligent companies weeded through myriad interactions to find patterns then worked to improve those experiences, but doing so was time-consuming and left more room for human error than today's tools.
  • Diverse data streams—Data captured from a range of internal and external sources (traditional sources, such as call centers and customer surveys, as well as social media and websites) gives a more complete view of the customer voice. This wide array of data provides multiple points of view for specific aspects of the business and the customer experience.
  • Streamlined business rules—More efficient handling of business rules and the use of advanced algorithms make combining and managing hundreds of variables quickly possible. Collecting data and using it effectively has become easier and therefore more popular.
  • Real-time capabilities—The burden of processing lag times is mitigated by the ability to manage information and results in real time. Businesses can implement changes more quickly now, so customers don't have to wait as long to see improvements or that their input has been recognized.

Big Data allows organizations to use information more quickly and accurately than ever. The use of Big Data enables brands to capture insights from an incredibly diverse set of data sources. Companies can then rapidly convert that information into improvements more closely aligned with customers' actual needs and preferences.

However, the use of Big Data for customer-experience improvements also involves challenges, including the need for transparency. Marketers need to look at data holistically and know when, where, and how the data was collected for effective analysis.

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image of Tamara Solarich

Tamara Solarich is CMO at The Northridge Group, a management consulting firm specializing in end-to-end customer experience solutions and cost-transformation initiatives with an emphasis on data analytics and business-process redesign.

LinkedIn: Tamara Solarich