Use big data in your inbound marketing campaign for incredible results

    3 minutes read
    John - 08.05.2017

    Using big data in inbound marketing campaigns can be a concept that scares a lot of people.

    It’s not really the most approachable idea, is it? Big data can be anything, especially in a connected world in which data is so easy to collect. It probably means something incredibly scientific too, doesn’t it? Better back away slowly before it swallows you whole…

    Except big data is absolutely nothing to be scared of. In fact, it should be treated as an extension of yourself. It’s friendly, highly-informative, personal and – most importantly – it will be your greatest ally in the next stage of business growth.

    As an experienced inbound marketing agency, we’ve worked with brands from all backgrounds to deliver bespoke inbound strategies across a variety of channels to help them better identify and attract the people who matter most to their growth ambitions. Want more information? Check out our blog “Lessons from an inbound marketing agency”.

    Big data can encompass all of the things you see in Google Analytics. This includes facts like how any people have visited your website, what pages they’ve viewed, what pages they didn’t like so much, and the path they took through your site to get to a chosen product or service.

    Big data can also touch on other aspects of your inbound marketing campaigns, including information like the number of people that have opened your emails, how often your checkout is abandoned part way through a sale, and other metrics you might find crucial to growth.

    How you collect, organise, refine, simplify and finally perceive this data is crucial to achieving faster and more sustainable growth.

    For our money, inbound marketing campaigns represent the best way for brands to collect and handle big data and create a narrative of their customers’ behaviour. Once the right processes are in place, it’s possible to consider how leads interact with your brand, and how you can change your messaging to build stronger relationships with your core audience.

    Understanding big data’s role in business growth

    To truly understand the potential that an inbound marketing campaign holds for your business’s long-term growth, it’s worth looking at the current state of the big data industry. Numerous companies are using advanced technologies to get their message across to a more and more targeted client base.

    Make no bones about it, big data is an industry in and of itself. It’s little wonder why. By 2020, every person on the planet is expected to create approximately 1.7 megabytes of data every second. That’s a lot of information your brand can collect and make good use of.

    That is, if your core market volunteers this information freely, and you collect it ethically and transparently through a creative, bespoke inbound marketing campaign.

    But brands collecting big data, more often than not, aren’t really sure how to best use it. They’re hoping to change though, according to a recent report from BlueVenn. This research says that data analysis skills are fast becoming more important than typical marketing techniques such as social media marketing and web development.

    In fact, a staggering 72% of those surveyed by BlueVenn think that acquiring the right data analysis skills is more important than getting a greater grip on social media (65%) and SEO (13%). No wonder, when 27% of marketers are currently leaving all the data analysis work to the IT department.

    You may have been collecting data for years. However, unless you put it front and centre of your inbound marketing campaign, segmenting it and making it useful and legible for all departments to be creative with, then your growth may be slower than you’d like. You’re also sacrificing the chance to get to know your customers on a more intimate level.

    Use big data in inbound marketing campaigns and fuel business growth

    Is the future of big data based in artificial intelligence?

    Interestingly, 60% of companies that involve themselves in big data claim that it actually exceeded their expectations. Consider Coca-Cola, who installed machines with non-existent flavours in various places, and then worked on developing the two most-wanted flavours according to the data they collected.

    This was a great idea to get initial customer feedback at street level. Sadly, though, not every company will have the capacity to roll out machines able to collect intricate data in target areas.

    Instead, a lot of brands are focusing their efforts on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology. We’ve already written about this; you can especially see fast food brands like Domino’s and Burger King trying to meld their big data strategy with social media chatbots to try and better automate their customer service strategies and refine the sales process.

    Only, as we’ve mentioned, if the strategy isn’t well thought-out, it can turn people away as they look to interact with a human being instead of a robot. There can be a risk of de-personalisation when it comes to using AI in your inbound marketing campaign.

    It’s a risk that a lot of companies are willing to take, though. A report by Tractica believes that artificial intelligence software revenue will reach $59.8 billion by 2025. On top of this, 75% of marketers are confident of adding AI to their existing marketing strategy, according to Demandbase and Wakefield Research. This is despite 60% having difficulties linking AI to their current tech tools.

    AI for marketing still needs some polish. It’s a gradual process, relying on algorithms that constantly learn from human behaviour and need as much natural interaction as possible to keep up with current trends and – ultimately – be useful.

    Could artifical intelligence feature in your next inbound marketing campaign?

    Machine learning can help refine that process

    When we talk to customers about any inbound marketing campaign, we like to make it clear that faster business growth and a stronger long-term foundation can be laid by combining different disciplines in creative, bespoke and unique ways.

    Creative content, for instance, when partnered with a targeted social media strategy, can enhance its message and help it to reach out to people on the move. Good web design, combined with paid search, can also help to increase leads and conversions for specific products and services.

    As it is with artificial intelligence; there needs to be a point to you using it and how it complements your existing inbound strategy to use your data effectively. Incorporating machine learning with AI can not only refine the way artificial intelligence learns about your customers, but could very well change the future of big data marketing.

    Machine learning, set against the appropriate KPIs, is helping creative marketers to refine their campaigns and collect better-quality data in different sectors. It’s also helping marketers to create better content and discover more relevant leads to add value beyond traditional customer campaigns.

    Beyond marketing, deep learning is being used in medical fields to spot lung cancer earlier through constantly evolving algorithms. Machine learning is also being implemented to reinvent the online security sector to discover and identify constantly-changing patterns and human behaviours which are causing devastating security breaches to online companies. 

    Similarly, machine learning in an inbound marketing campaign can recognise patterns to collect greater sets of big data, and determine whether people are only vaguely interested in a product or have serious intent to complete a purchase.

    Combined with an inbound campaign and potential automation techniques like AI, machine learning with big data can be a seriously explosive growth marketing cocktail.

    Machine learning can perfect inbound marketing campaigns, and HubSpot can help.

    Start off slowly with big data and inbound marketing

    The best inbound marketing campaign should start off small, using the data that companies are collecting to get a better picture of their existing audience, before creating highly-accurate personas based on the leads they’d like to capture most.

    Creative content marketing and paid biddable channels on search engines and social media will not only help you to speak to those people on a human level, but will also act as a key strategy to collecting the big data you’ll find most useful for future growth.

    How you refine and segment that data is essential to how you visualise your customers and the journey they take when they shop with your brand.

    At Six & Flow, we use HubSpot to help both ourselves and our customers to collect, visualise and automate consumer data in incredibly easy and useful ways. Using this, it’s possible to build creative and bespoke inbound marketing campaigns that target the right people and encourage them to revisit the brand time and time again.

    HubSpot allows us to visualise big data across a number of channels, giving us access to information such as conversion rates and how many people have visited a website through organic means, through social, through PPC and more.

    It sounds pretty simple, but laying the right foundations is key to long-term inbound success and business growth. It’s as important as collecting that data in ethical, transparent ways which – again – inbound and HubSpot marketing allow us to do.

    One of HubSpot’s greatest features is that it allows us to use big data with a marketing automation service. This saves customers time, improves the quality of their leads, nurtures prospects not yet ready to commit, and reaches out to them consistently as part of the aftercare process.


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