As the name implies, Big Data can become overwhelming. When data science first became capable of processing enormous compilations of data, experts encouraged brands and researchers to collect as much data as possible. Today, some experts have revised their statements, urging brands to focus on collecting the right data based on their specific needs.
If you're struggling to make sense of the Big Data influx, here are a few ways to get a grip on the situation.
Create a Clear Plan
What KPIs do you want to track? What interests you most about your customers? What goals have you set for your business?
Don't start collecting data until you can answer these questions. Otherwise, your data will prove meaningless because you can't apply it to a higher purpose.
Consumer behavior changes all the time, so data you collected six months ago might not be relevant today. That's why you need a clear plan in place before you start collecting and analyzing data.
Choose the Right Key Performance Indicators
As mentioned above, KPIs play a critical role in understanding and harnessing Big Data. You don't want to choose KPIs just because they're trendy this month; you need indicators that relate to your specific goals:
- Track sales revenue if you want to boost overall revenue through your marketing campaign.
- Keep tabs on customer lifetime value if you're more focused on customer retention and improving the customer experience.
- Pay more attention to landing page conversion rates if you want to steer consumers more efficiently through the sales funnel.
- Track organic traffic when you want to boost your position in the SERPs and reduce your advertising spend.
Dozens of other KPIs exist, and each leads down a different path — specifically, toward a goal. More importantly, your goals need to possess certain qualities:
You might recognize the SMART goal strategy. It's pervasive because it works.
If you're not specific about your KPIs, the data you collect won't lead to measurable results, and you'll have to start over with new data, new goals, and more refined KPIs.
Collect What You Need
Once you decide which KPIs you want to track, you must align those KPIs with your goals and your data collection methods. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of focusing on digital-only data. In reality, Big Data encompasses behaviors that exist offline, from financial transactions to phone conversations and email responses.
Keep it Clean
Consistency and transparency matter when it comes to Big Data. The sheer volume of data you collect can quickly lead to chaos, especially if you don't organize it efficiently. Worse, you might discover that you've collected incorrect or dirty data, which can completely derail your efforts and skew your analyses.
Setting data validation rules and cleaning your database regularly can help you maintain data consistency and accuracy. While you can't expect every piece of data to yield fascinating insights into your customers, Big Data can collectively help drive your business forward, increasing your revenue and building your brand's reputation.
Managing Big Data can prove difficult, especially if you don't have a dedicated, in-house IT department. We're here to help. If you're ready to launch a more focused, targeted marketing campaign using Big Data insights and data science as its foundation, read our revealing report: How Digital Marketing Agencies Cost Less Than In-House Teams.