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If Conquering Big Data is a Process for Marketers, Social Media Can Be the First Step

By , March 21, 2012

Big Data has become a hot topic in recent months. It’s “sexy,” it’s “gorgeous,” and its potential is limitless. But few companies have figured out how to pluck insights from this “mountain of gold” as Google’s Avinash Kaushik puts it in this great post about Big Data.

Use cases of Big Data show how it can do everything from track cholera outbreaks in Haiti to select which TV shows to produce next. And marketers are aware of the potential of Big Data on their efforts; IBM Vice President Anjul Bhambhri called the CMO the next Data Scientist.

Right now, marketers are collecting demographic info, customer transactions, and customer usage data, according to a study by Columbia Business School and the New York American Marketing Association. Every day, social media generates billions of data points. Yet marketers aren’t capturing this data at a very high rate: just 35% are collecting social content from customers and targets and 33% are tracking ties to customers in social media. Another study by IBM showed 75% of companies aren’t collecting social media data.



Big Data has been recognized as a soon-to-be monumental turning point for marketers, but getting there is a process. Many are at the beginning of that journey. But in the swirling mass of Big Data analysis, capturing and using social media data is attainable. Not only can it be meshed with other overall business data, but also with additional marketing data to give users personalized experiences and make messages from companies relevant and more impactful.

While companies inch slowly toward extracting the juicy insights that come from Big Data, collecting social media info doesn’t have to lag behind. With our Shoutlet 5.0 release, we extended our user data collection capabilities with Social Profiles, which pull in customer social data and interaction history with your social media accounts into a comprehensive social profile. Making sense of the stores of data about your fans, followers, and subscribers doesn’t have to be a struggle – and neither is acting on that data in the social space. Personalizing content such as Facebook tabs, web apps on company websites, and web pages to individual users based on the data collected is available today with social segmentation features.

eMarketer writes: “Without the ability to integrate Big Data collection and usage processes, companies are certain to fall short in delivering a truly personalized customer experience integrated across ad formats and channels. Such a mandate is of significant importance as consumers increasingly interact with brands across multiple channels and screens. Those who succeed first in using Big Data will have an edge over brands and marketers who are unable to tie information to action.”

The idea of Big Data is exciting, and social media is just one aspect. While many are in the early stages of realizing their big data dreams, collecting and utilizing social media data doesn’t have to be lofty goal. It can be utilized now to make user experiences better and make social media outreach more effective.

  • Dennis Hall

    Great information! IT pros are realizing the potential to leverage Social Media to enhance Customer profiling, segmentation and targeting. Data gleaned from Social engagement will increase the effectiveness of CRM and Business Intelligence systems. In 2012, the CMO will be the CIOs new BFF!