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Social signals help marketers unlock value of big (and small) data

The idea of big data is appealing – want to uncover hidden patterns about customer behavior, predict the next fashion trend, or see where to focus ad spend next year? There’s an app for that! But when it comes to bringing the power of big data to everyday tasks, an increasing number of organizations are discovering that thinking small, and applying social signals and data they already have can also have a big impact on their marketing effectiveness.

As we explore in an upcoming Digital Clarity Group multi-client study sponsored by Visible, and several other top software firms, marketing is very much in the driver’s seat when it comes to consuming and shaping the future of big and small data.  In fact, more than any other group, marketing organizations have been on the front lines of web and social innovation, and they have seen the potential of database marketing, social listening, and even data-driven mobile applications. Plus, most of these same marketers are clamoring for new approaches to harnessing the power of big data and turning it into practical tools, apps, and campaigns for customers and those who serve them.

Social Drives Marketing Insights and Innovation

Among the key types of customer-related data available to inform digital marketing today (transactional, online, social, location), social signals often represent critical “outside” perspectives and tend to be more conversational in nature as opposed to behavioral or transactional data. In fact, since Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the myriad of other social apps came online, we’ve entered a new “social era” in big data and analytics.

As my team has captured key use cases for bringing the power of big data to the masses (of markers and other roles), the ability to quickly and accurately gain market insight – to support tasks such as competitive intelligence, product planning, influencer outreach, and even large-scale marketing or advertising campaigns – is a key starting point for putting data into action in today’s marketing organization. Even better: with the right tools and processes, you don’t have to be a data scientist to leverage social data, turn it into unique insights, and turn these insights into action!

As we state in my new DCG report, this “insight” use case is foundational, and something marketers can be doing today. Especially since it represents a mash-up of social media analytics and reporting (and visualization) tailored for specific end users, and many organizations are already turning to social channels as their primary data source for market intelligence and customer feedback. Overall, across all of our identified small data use cases, there is a core social component, either around listening and data acquisition or for social sharing.

Want to learn more about our study findings, how social media is changing the big data game, and ways you can start tapping the value of your social signals, join me on October 30 for a special live Web event with Erin Isselmann from Xerox and Visible’s own Mike Maziarka. Hope to see you there!

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Allen2 200pxAbout the Author: Allen Bonde is Partner and Principal Analyst at Digital Clarity Group (DCG), a co-founder and advisor to Offerpop, and a 3-time CMO. An early proponent of disruptive trends like Web self-service and small data, he works with clients to gain better market insight through big (and small) data, and design digital experiences consumers will love. He started his career as a researcher and data scientist in the telecom sector, and was an analyst and practice leader at McKinsey and Yankee Group. Allen tweets at @abonde, and writes for DM News, Forbes.com and 1to1 Media.

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