Many forecasts about 2016 trends and developments center on two words: Big Data. The concept is everywhere, and companies in all industries know that Big Data analysis can change the ways they operate—especially in terms of marketing. Moreover, some 69% of companies will base all their marketing decisions on data by 2017, according to Gartner.

That focus is great news for chief marketing officers (CMOs) and the companies they support. Marketers are the ideal group to develop best-practices and strategies for applying Big Data analytics to other parts of a company.

Advancing those strategies requires input from several members of a team, however. Also, software, hardware, processes and budget need to be considered.

Moreover, to turn data analytics into business results, you need to act quickly and with a clear approach.

Below are three questions to help every CMO outline a course of action and prove the return on investment (ROI) for creating a Big Data project for marketing purposes.

1. What's the big picture?

It's impossible for you to provide the analytics that team members need without your understanding the questions they're trying to answer. What problems does your company want to solve? How can analytics help employees work toward a solution?

Consider your end game as you apply analytics to your work. Reevaluate your direction and resources frequently to ensure you're contribute to the company's ultimate goals.

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Mark Laughlin is director of enterprise technology at Key Information Systems, a regional systems integrator with computer, storage, and networking solutions and professional services for the most advanced software-defined data centers.

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