Marketing in Real Time: A Big Deal for Big Data

By: Brad Bush

Social media is now nearly twenty years old, and this very smart “young adult” is going to college now. Social marketing has grown up alongside social media, amplifying the most effective marketing of all – word of mouth.  Marketers are now working  every conceivable way to get consumers to love a product or service, a sale or event, and love it so much they start sharing it over multitude of channels, through words, pictures, videos, and even virtual “binge buying” and “binge watching."

Today, there are thousands of tools, technologies and platforms that enable brands to engage with consumers, build ongoing relationships, support ongoing conversations with and among customers, and build brands in real time.

For CMOs like me, this is an incredibly exciting time. As my company continues to invest in more digital engagement software and continues to launch a stream of highly-targeted campaigns, we are seeing truly tangible results. But this is also overwhelming. Now that we have made decisions about what systems to deploy, generating qualified leads, closing those leads and pumping our learning back into the process – we are beginning to look at marketing automation as a “Big Data” challenge.

A little history: I am a former CIO who, through an interesting journey, became CMO of a global software company supporting real time human communications (as a partner to hundreds of the largest communications service providers and enterprises in the world). Not only have I made the transition from CIO to CMO, but I have done so at the same company – so I understand the architecture of our corporate data and information inside and out.

Within a few months, I enhanced the marketing team with very cool individuals who are passionate about “martech” and engaged a number of world-class vendors to provide different kinds of software for partner management, campaign creation and tracking, lead generation, lead tracking, social marketing and more. Next, we engaged a large global media company to develop a content marketing platform on which we have assembled the brightest minds in our industry to publish their views, while also sharing our views and value propositions, ads for partners, and links back to our campaign material.

This created a “perfect storm” of continual, pervasive “real time” buzz – and with it – hard results. And all of those results created incredibly valuable data. This led me to the insight that while the world clearly recognizes the importance of “Big Data” in marketing, we are just now getting to the point where the “Art of Persuasion” may be trumped by the “Science of Data".  And this science can only happen when data is strategically created and harvested, analyzed and “recirculated” back into the system to the point of predictive offerings and genuine, fine-tuned, sensitive and “almost human” intelligence.

But there’s more to the story. Now we are enabling talented and visionary developers to build communications into their applications using our new platform-as-a-service (Kandy).  This brings in new data points for capture by the Big Data machine: human-to-human communications, in real time, with real behavioral science embedded.

Can marketing today get any more interesting?

As a super fan of Amazon, I know from personal experience that relevant suggestions work. I love books and music, and while I continue to still get my best recommendations from friends, I am grateful to Amazon for having captured my interests so well that their recommendations are rarely wrong.  Even as a strong advocate for protection of personal privacy, I have to admit – when I get value from a software solution that makes my life easier, I fear less and adopt more. Trust makes a huge difference, and I trust Amazon and look up to them as a visionary company who changed how we discover, decide and part with our hard-earned cash (free shipping included)!

Amazon rarely markets itself, unless they have something special like their “Mayday” service to promote in order to sell more tablets in the super competitive tablet market. It’s interesting that the application Amazon chose to invest millions if not tens of millions of dollars to advertise is one which humanizes the Amazon experience - where a “real person” is available within seconds to help answer questions, solve problems and keep customers happy.


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