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How to Make Your Data Actionable: What Big Data Can Do For You

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The knowledge that is gained from the employment of Big Data research means very little without an actionable plan to use it. Collecting data from consumers is necessary, but not what will cause a business to see an improvement in its bottom line. The ways in which a company chooses to put that information to use, however, will determine the value of it, thus a strategy must be put in place to learn more about the consumer and how that will be useful.

An excellent starting point for any company is to wrap its head around existing information - how can you use what you already have? The next is to form a data driven strategy; determining the remaining information needed, then figuring out how collecting it will be valuable. Collecting Big Data can establish what consumers want, but the data will need to be translated into a solution that will cause the consumer to take action; that will prove to them that you can fulfill their needs and cause them to want to buy, or stay. Understanding what Big Data can do for you will set the tone for what actions will need to be taken once the results are presented.

Identifying the business questions and actionable insights are the very foundation in utilizing data for marketing campaigns. Marketers will have to apply Big Data within the brands and campaigns; therefore, the focus should be placed on making Big Data actionable for marketers. However, to be "actionable," marketers require more than just data. While data collection lays the groundwork for a campaign, there is a generous amount of learning about the consumer to be done thereafter. A part of this learning process will be deciphering what data is meaningful to marketers and what is not. Data can suggest a consumer's likes and dislikes and when they are most or least likely to purchase, but getting to know them through the analysis process is what will spur successful marketing action. In fact, this past June, an Economist Intelligence Unit research survey showed that marketers listed the "ability to use data analysis to extract predictive findings from Big Data" as their highest priority.

Marketers must then synchronize channels to optimize results. They should leverage each to do what it does best: social to engage, email to target and sell, search to sell, and mobile to reach - taking marketing plans to the next level. That action must also take place soon after the data is presented. Extracting actionable intelligence from Big Data requires handling large amounts of disparate data and processing it very quickly. Leaving too large a window between the time the data is collected and when it is used in marketing materials could result in a missed trend or opportunity to speak to your audience in a manner that is both timely and accurate.

Although Big Data is a hot topic in marketing circles these days, it is important for marketers to focus on the actionable insight that Big Data brings rather than focusing on ticking a box on the hot trend of the week. The comprehensive idea should be to absorb large amounts of data and exude actionable user insight from that data. Big Data is undoubtedly the starting point of a strategic campaign but transforming the information received into marketable data is what will make it most successful.