Big Data for the Rest of Us

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  • 6/13/2018

    In our most recent Trends book, we covered how data capturing and analyzing platforms like Google Data Studio continue to mature. We cited some very real, practical steps that even teams beyond marketing can use to get started and also described how most organizations’ data ambitions go beyond just marketing. HR, sales, customer service and support teams are now, more than ever, asking themselves how they can tie customer insights together for the greater good.

    Among the greatest determining factors of success today is the ability to extract meaning from your many data points and translate it into action. Are you a “data have” or a “data have-not?”

    The great news here is many organizations already understand this imperative and have seen not only tactical shifts in operations and what they are tracking, but also cultural shifts in how they approach work and projects. You are likely at an organization that has embraced data, but perhaps you are not maximizing your existing efforts and assets.

    We often witness how enterprises today track, adapt and enhance touch points with seemingly automatic and effortless flair. Those of you at small and mid-market companies are tempted to be content with residing at the edges of the dance, never taking that full opportunity to cut loose with what is tracked, shared and acted on.

    It all comes down to budget, right? When you get the urge to do more with data beyond a linear spreadsheet, you might decide to wait for the next project to speak up about it. You might wait for the “big data visualizer.” You might talk about the game this past weekend instead of asking your peers about what they might be seeing in last week’s email opens and how it relates to other campaigns. Budgeting for a data scientist isn’t a requirement.

    Decide what you want to learn and figure out how to learn it. Get zealous about data collection. Never miss a chance to build more transparency into your customer experience.

    “I am regularly reviewing analytics from our website, mobile app, social platforms, ticketing and marketing reports analyzing current campaigns.” says Brandon Jirousek, Director, Digital Content and Operations of the Cavaliers Operating Company. He goes on to state, “Acquiring and understanding big data is a mindset that exists within our organization. However, we have room to grow in opening up to allowing the data we acquire and analyze to play a larger role in making business decisions.”

    When asked if he and his digital team share the information, he states, “Yes. We continue to work across our organization to provide transparency on campaign performance to help educate individual teams or departments on success metrics and setting benchmarks for future campaign decisions. This is an area where we can continue to improve, but we leverage ticket runway metrics to better understand timing on campaigns and follow-up on performance to understand how creative and/or messaging performed.”

    The team that powers the Cavaliers digital experiences demonstrates that it only takes smart, disciplined people willing to ask better questions, seek answers and, above all, communicate.

    The team at Destination Cleveland, the nonprofit convention and visitors bureau, also understands big data goes beyond just clicks and open rates. Big data is not a futuristic concept forever at the edge of practical practice.

    How do we make the experience better? Yes, we look at user engagement, traffic to site, traffic to app, email engagement to find space for usability improvements. Then, we couple that data with visitor surveys through third-party providers.  

    :: Drew Shipley, Senior Manager of Web Administration and Digital Marketing at Destination Cleveland

    Drew Shipley, Senior Manager of Web Administration and Digital Marketing, said his team has data being pulled from websites, email campaigns, mobile apps, CRM tools and earned media attribution platforms. He explains, “One of our primary reasons for data aggregation is simply answering the question of how users plan their visits to our region.”

    And from that question, their big data action becomes that much easier to manage and benefit from, in addition to opening up the opportunity for layering additional sources.

    “How do we make the experience better? Yes, we look at user engagement, traffic to site, traffic to app, email engagement to find space for usability improvements. Then, we couple that data with visitor surveys through third-party providers,” states Shipley.

    In hearing these takes on analytics, the path to the big data status is attainable and it doesn’t require an intense initiative to get going. It takes a willingness to promote and accept curiosity, the ability to share the data and a mindset to work through questions and create a culture around data. In fact, you may very well have the foundation already set.

    Big Data for the Rest of Us is an article featured in our 2018 Trends Summer Reader publication. Download your free copy here.
    If you are interested in learning more, listen to our corresponding thunder::cast episode.
  • Toes in the Water, Trends on the Brain
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  • Episode 80 - Trends Summer Reader 2018: Embracing Big Data
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