Marketers are Moving On from ROI; Data the New Challenge

Leveraging data is now the biggest challenge facing marketers.

social business big data leveraging dataSince the dawn of social business, one of the greatest challenges facing marketers was how they could measure ROI. It is ironic that in a field that has so long been dominated by the immeasurable – the hope that print media gets into the right hands, the dollar value of great branding – now, the most measurable feature of all was being criticized for its inability to be measured.

Marketers are now moving past this issue, particularly as they begin to understand how social media, in particular, Social Equity, can be measured. The new challenge facing marketers: leveraging data and making it actionable.

Recently, StrongView released their “2014 Marketing Trends Survey” and the results are very interesting.

What is so interesting about it?

Well, for starters, the findings seem to allude to a more evolved digital marketer. There is no longer a focus on the issues of measurability – which many social marketing evangelists would tell you was never a major issue – but rather a focus on how the vast amounts of data can be leveraged by brands.

What’s more, marketing is getting more attention. This means two things. First, on a macro scale, when it comes to business, marketing expenditures are generally a good indication of how the economy is performing. This survey found that 93% of those surveyed planned on increasing or, at least maintaining their marketing budgets in 2014, up 4% from 2013.

On a micro level, this means that the value of big data and new age digital marketing strategies is finally being recognized by businesses of all sizes. Now, the question is how to use it.

What exactly is big data?

Big data is exactly what it sounds like: it a whole lot of data. We wrote an article a little while ago detailing exactly what big data is and how it can be used by brands.

So why is it so valuable?

Well, big data provides business with insights into their audience, industry, brand and competitors that has never before been captured. There are billions of social accounts on dozens of networks out there, each capturing and publishing so much content that it is literally impossible to keep up.

It is no surprise that brands are having a tough time leveraging data.

What do you mean by leveraging data?

These endless fields of data are ripe for the harvest, but so few marketers know where to start with it. When billions of pieces of data exist out there about your industry, or even your audience alone, how can you turn it into something valuable?

Leveraging data can mean quite a few different things. First, data can be used for branding purposes. When you look at the data collected about your audience, you can position your brand – at least on social – to relate as closely as possible to them.

It can also mean more efficient marketing and advertising campaigns, both in and out of social.

Imagine knowing exactly what your audience tastes and preferences were, and having the ability to build campaigns targeted to those preferences. That is a benefit that leveraging data can have for your brand.

Again, this is much easier said than done. With so much to sift through, even the most experienced marketers are having a tough time getting a grasp on big data. That’s not their fault – this is a brand new concept, and a very exciting one at that.

What else have we learned about marketers?

The StrongView report also points out that, as per usual, there are a lack of resources to execute comprehensive initiatives. The irony here is that the biggest issue – leveraging data – can’t really be dealt with until the second major issue – lack of resources – has been addressed. But such is life.

Marketers are also looking to improve engagement, while 36% want to improve their targeting.

There are more great stats available in the summary and the report as a whole here.

So what can we expect in 2014?

It appears that data, in all its glory, will be the focal point of the marketer’s 2014. As the business world has slowly come aboard the move to social business and integrated digital marketing, it is finally time to see what great benefits these new media can have.

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to marketing right now? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter!

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