There’s little doubt that big data presents countless opportunities for the modern marketer. We now know more about our customers and competitors than anyone thought possible ten years ago, and can predict the future with astounding accuracy.
For all of the rewards on offer though, there exists a number of obstacles. Using data effectively is much easier said than done, and most businesses will find themselves facing the same challenges as they strive for insight-driven success.
Below are the six biggest problems that businesses must overcome before they can realise data’s true potential.
1. There’s too much data!
We create more than 2.5 billion gigabytes (GB) of data every day – enough to fill 156.2 million 16GB iPads. The figure is growing rapidly too; according to IBM, 90 per cent of the data in existence today was created in the last two years alone.
The information is arriving from everywhere: social media profiles, sensors, websites and credit card transactions are just a few examples of the sources currently in use. Marketers have plenty of applications to help them harvest the intelligence they need, but most have more data than they know what to do with.
2. Not enough time
With the right tools to hand, it is possible to get a decent picture of a website’s performance, but the process is far from simple. Going through all of these applications to collect the necessary information is a laborious task – one that tends to take up the precious time of highly skilled specialists who should instead be working on getting results for their clients.
Frustratingly, the process tends to be similar each time; you’ll find yourself going through the same sizeable pool of data sources, picking up the same types of statistics regularly.
3. The big picture is incomplete
The tools mentioned above have some truly impressive capabilities; they’ve revolutionised the way marketers judge and benchmark website performance. The landscape is vast, though, and most aren’t aware of just how many data sources are actually available to them. This causes its own problems.
Unless you’re using everything, it’s impossible to get the complete picture of a website’s performance – and without all of the details, it’s safe to assume opportunities will be missed. Only those who know everything, and can see it all in one place, will be positioned to get the best results.
4. Not enough experts
Too many firms invest in data simply because the media and industry attention around it suggests they should. Those who fall into this trap, though, will inevitably fail to get the results they expect.
Data may be a crucial ingredient of modern marketing success, but having access to it really is just the first step; you then need to interpret it in a way that allows you to make better decisions, and quickly.
The number of people with the knowledge and understanding to do this, and turn raw data into actionable insight, doesn’t quite match up with the sheer amount of information out there. It’s for this reason that the skills of traditional digital marketing specialists are still so valuable.
5. Your money is going to waste
The average digital agency will no doubt be able to help you overcome all of the problems above, but that’s not to say the money you pay will be used efficiently. With the lines between marketer and data scientist at their blurriest, the SEO, PPC, content and social experts working on your behalf will be spending half their time aggregating data – meaning you’re not getting your money’s worth.
In an ideal world, you’d be paying these specialists to focus on what they do best – improve your visibility online, and help increase your revenue. Until the menial, repetitive tasks can be removed from the data equation, though, this cannot happen.
6. There’s no transparency
Putting your own use of data into the hands of another agency may help you get better results in the long term, but this requires a certain level of trust. How much do you know about what data is being harvested, for instance, and what it’s being used for? This lack of transparency can cause a number of issues.
First and foremost, you don’t know how your money is being spent, and whether it’s being used efficiently. More than this, if you don’t have access to your own data, you won’t be able to use it yourself; everything is at the agency’s mercy.
Fortunately, these problems won’t always exist. The marketing industry is evolving rapidly, and the effective use of data is at the revolution’s core. At present, a typical agency, situated at one end of the marketing spectrum, relies on the carefully designed applications provided by software-as-a-service (SaaS) suppliers at the opposite end of it. This approach, to put it simply, is far from efficient; it’s the main reason for all of the issues above.
We see a future where the ties between marketing and technology are much stronger. In the future, all digital agencies will combine their own bespoke big data platforms with the knowledge and understanding they’re traditionally known for to get amazing results.
Vertical Leap is spearheading this revolution with the help of its own intelligence solution, Apollo Insights. By automatically collecting everything there is to know about your website, and your competitors’ sites, it provides our specialist teams with the insight they need to make the best possible marketing decisions. The result is dramatically improved campaign performance; meaning increased visibility and revenue for you.