The explosive growth of data is ushering a new era in marketing, but not for the reasons so frequently cited. It’s not that data is new to marketing. It’s always been around. Rather, it’s the proliferation of consumer data—including how it’s gathered in today’s digitally ubiquitous world as well as how it’s analyzed and applied—that is significantly new and consequential. And not only is the Big Data revolution transforming marketing, by aligning it more closely with IT, but, by doing so, it is also helping to centralize marketing’s role more overall within companies.
Marketing has always relied on both the Art and the Science of winning consumers and building businesses. In earlier decades, this balance was more heavily weighted on the creative side. But over time, the science side has become more infused into the marketing equation in increasingly large doses—adding not just more quantitative information to the mix, but greater sophistication as well. Data is, of course, a crucial part of this scientific input, although its usage up to now has been much more visible in areas like media planning and direct marketing. Practices such as data mining, modeling, optimization, and so on, have been extensively used to reach consumers cost-effectively and, depending upon the campaign objectives, to generate appropriate consumer responses along the purchase funnel.
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