Big Data or Marketing? Probably Both

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on October 22, 2017

One of my favourite lines from the film The Spiderman is when Uncle Ben gives his words of wisdom to Peter Parker ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. If that movie were to be remade today, I wonder how Uncle Ben would have advised Parker- ‘With Big Data comes big responsibility’.

It has been quite some time that I have been hearing the façade with big data and data-driven marketing until one fine afternoon, I witnessed it first-hand when my friend and I sat down to make a marketing model for a business venture. We divided our marketing model into sections like Achievable Marketing Goals, SWOT Analysis, Buyer Personas, A/B Testing, and Measurable Key Metrics and both of us somewhere knew that in coming days, we will have to leverage the power of data-  Customer Data, Competitor Data, Internal Data, and External data and only then we will be reaching somewhere close to a heightened customer engagement.


If I talk about boardroom discussions happening across the globe, there will be this marketing guy who is explaining how he is highly convinced that he knows what it takes to deliver a value-based customer experience and on the other hand, there will be the end user, who is receiving a one-size-fits-all messaging and asking for a well-structured approach from this marketing cookie. So, where is the disconnect? How long can companies stand at the edge of the sea, hoping the lines of disagreement will merge themselves?

Let’s delve into these questions by analysing and understanding the sudden shift in the marketing topography:

• A Forrester study shows that 44% of B2C marketers are pursuing big data and analytics to improve responsiveness and 36% are actively using analytics and data mining to gain greater insights to plan more relationship-driven strategies

• 54% of the CMOs believe that Big Data and analytics will play a major role in their marketing strategy over the long-term

• A recent study by DataMeer finds Customer Analytics (48%) to dominate in sales and marketing departments

• With every passing day, more information about customers’ demography and behaviors becomes accessible and the carrying cost of not taking data-driven marketing piles up. By 2020, the digital universe will reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes giving marketers so much data that they cannot even think off

• Marketing has become more accountable with big data. It’s now possible to tap into the signals of the end users and predict with more than 85% accuracy when they are going to buy, what they are going to buy, and how they are going to buy

These statistics show how marketing from back in 2007 when for the first time witnessed the digital surge has emerged to the mainstream and has moved from the transaction and traditional data to behavioral and customer-centric data. The process has surely become more data-driven and personalized, with creativity getting measured in clickthroughs, conversions, and ROIs.

It wouldn’t come to you as a surprise if I say, tech and data are leading the space in the marketing realm. To make it more impactful, I would like to mention about an important finding that was made by Gartner in 2016 – ‘CMOs Will Likely Spend More on Technology than CIOs by 2017’. The much spoken about prediction got a lot of frowns back in 2016 but as per the research, it precisely hits the sweet spot in 2017 so much so that there are no signs of the burgeoning IT and big data knowledge to stop or even slowdown in the foreseeable future.

How Netflix embraces Big Data:

Companies are trying hard to make it imperative to make the functions more analytics-focussed but when it comes to revolutionizing Big Data, Netflix makes it ‘big’ in the true sense. ‘Netflix accounts for one-third of peak-time internet traffic in the US and in just over two years after its launch, Netflix has become the second largest driver of traffic on fixed access networks in the UK and Ireland,” said Dave Caputo, President, and CEO, Sandvine.

With over 99 million views, Netflix makes sure it creates the business model solely around collecting and analysing certain data points. What are these data points exactly?

• What are the different devices viewers use?

• Which time of the day do viewers open Netflix?

• If they exit from the middle of the episode or not?

• Do they pause in between the episode?

• Are they regular in giving the credits?

• Where do they watch it?

Mapping these patterns and other data points, Netflix not only launched its first production ‘House of Cards’ but also predicted it to be a sure shot hit.


To conclude, I have to say that the perception of quant-y and algorithm-y data guy driving the marketing campaigns is not a thing of the past anymore. That is because the reasons that make a marketing campaign a failure can be plenty:  Outdated, ineffective, and ad hoc internal marketing processes but what makes the reasons intangible and rather complicated to derive are unique data sets and algorithms. Fortunately, companies have tons of user base and when combined with alerts from the multiple devices that users have access to, marketers get a broader vision to the likes and dislikes of their target customer and make sense out of the deliverability.

So, it is time to include Big Data in marketing decision making.

“This may seem daunting, but try to look at it as a fantastic time to be in this profession. What could be more stimulating than being in a part of the business where the foundations are being shaken daily?  Wouldn’t you prefer to be a leader of this transformation than to be led by someone else? In short, it’s a wonderful time to be a data-driven marketer if you like change, excitement, and new ideas. And if you don’t like those things, marketing probably isn’t the best place for you anyway!”

—Thomas H. Davenport

The article has been authored by Swikrity Chakraborty from Kalinga institute of Industrial Technology

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