Big Data Across Multiple Marketing Approaches

Let’s define relevant. My best understanding is that it means the quality of relating to the overall disposition, including experiences, understandings, aspirations, tastes and desires, of one or more people. As marketing is the engaging process of introducing a good or service to a customer in his or her unique context, relevance is certainly a primary concern of those facilitating this introduction – the marketers themselves. They must initiate a potential relationship between a customer and a good or service that causes the customer to consider its possible role in their own experience. A successful business needs to persuasively contend what this role may be and why it is important.

Humans have timelessly struggled to measure the characteristic facets of one another, which is an enigma that has disturbed us for ages. Businesses struggle with the same challenge as they try to understand their customer. Technology, however, has a fascinating capacity for bringing us closer to solving fundamental problems. The implementation of big data tools grants businesses the ability to measure relevance and take action accordingly. Big data provides valuable information to businesses as they attempt to market their product as something that a customer needs because of his or her distinct circumstances. The process, timing, and intention behind sharing any opportunity with a customer each play a significant role in determining marketing success. Below I explore how big data is affecting various marketing approaches by allowing relevance to be measured and applied in meaningful ways.

Direct Marketing

Big data may affect direct marketing most dramatically of all marketing approaches. Direct marketing is an opportunity for marketers to share the image and vision of a good or service directly with the customer. Conditions naturally exist, however, that may increase or decrease the customer’s likelihood to take notice, begin considering the implications of what has been offered, or become impressed. Big data understands these conditions by revealing trends in markets and past transactions that mean that certain marketing messages should be introduced in particular locations at particular times to a particular group of people. Insight regarding the properties of customers, leads, and prospects informs a marketing team and creates more accurate predictions regarding the effectiveness of campaigns. Additionally, big data can allow a business to intelligently acknowledge both sides of each of its interactions with a prospective or existing customer in order to customize each exchange of ideas. Ultimately, the completeness of a business’s use of big data in direct marketing may determine how many mental barriers a direct message is capable of penetrating when encountering a new person.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing introduces a unique opportunity to take advantage of big data. Because this marketing approach includes the principle of attracting more qualified leads from the start of a business’s introduction of their product, big data assists marketers in determining the group that is composed of their ideal customers and becoming a resource as a solution to a problem or concern that group is facing. This approach forces a business to not only consider how their product may affect a customer but to also share their industry expertise in other ways that will promote trust. As businesses create educational content, remain engaged, and create new occasions for interactions with qualified leads, they must remain cognizant of their audience. Through the process of data collection that is integrated into business operations and through the analysis or cross-referencing of externally accessible information, marketers can understand exactly who their audience is when publishing content or interacting with prospective and existing clients through other mediums. If inbound marketing strategy requires a business to bring leads in, big data increases its ability to fully understand the context in which it operates by revealing trends and demands.

Outbound Marketing

As direct marketing is catalyzed by better opportunities for delivering personalized messages directly to customers, outbound marketing distinguishes itself. Outbound marketing is the approach that essentially involves marketers placing a message in front of a large audience of both targeted customers and less susceptible prospects. While the customization of marketing contributes to the arguable outdating of this approach, certain mediums for message delivery that may only affect a portion of viewers maintain their value, especially when data is utilized. As data collection technology improves and traditional tools remain available, understanding the multitude of lead sources and why they are creating leads is paramount. Exploring the data surrounding the leads that are coming from billboards, print advertisements, direct mail, and other outbound strategies, will reveal how this marketing approach can be used in company with alternatives to create masterful marketing strategies that pull customers from the sources or combination of sources that will most likely convert them to leads.

Upsell and Cross-Sell Marketing

Although these techniques are generally recognized as a sales method, big data can personalize customer interactions to the point that upselling and cross-selling opportunities incorporate themselves directly into the approach taken by marketers. Data can illustrate what customers are purchasing and what they may be willing to purchase according to existing trends. Consequently, a business can use this information to structure their initial content and sales offers in order to integrate the option to buy better or more goods and services. Some discernable groups of customers may want add-ons or supplements while others may prefer the base model or service. Understanding, monitoring, and controlling the groups of customers that are truly receiving certain specialized offers allows marketers to increase the quality of initial and supplementary offers relative to each group.

Content Marketing

Although a component of the inbound approach, content marketing should be recognized on its own because of the extensive role it is beginning to play in businesses across countless industries. Remaining engaged and contributing to the human conversation is an essential for businesses that wish to maintain their relevance. Nonetheless, the Internet is divided into various communities, and it can be challenging to use an understanding of these groups to create more quality business interactions instead of inadvertently limiting an audience. By collecting data regarding who is accessing content and monitoring what is relevant to particular communities, businesses can create a variety of specialized content that is more likely to nurture leads among certain targeted groups.

Data of all sizes has certainly demonstrated its value across all marketing approaches. With consumer culture developing around mobile smartphones, new opportunities are arising for both data collection and offer delivery that capitalize on relevance. Furthermore, these processes can be automated and coordinated in real-time, which creates an entirely new layer of marketing strategy. Social media platforms create a new medium of idea exchange between consumers and businesses that present marketing opportunities as well as introduce extractable information that can truly allow businesses to improve their actual goods and services. Additionally, the prospect of big data is not limited to businesses marketing to single consumers. Business-to-business marketing and sales teams can learn a great deal about their collective customers from data. As data is the building block of valuable information, it is useful in any marketing expedition.


While data can be used in contrasting approaches to marketing, the true promise of big data is in its ability to integrate marketing strategy across multiple approaches. While we can observe the use of big data for direct marketing, inbound marketing, content marketing, etc., it would be a mistake to ignore that data teaches us how to market to consumers. Big data is the ultimate interdisciplinary tool for a marketing team. In fact, big data potentially reveals precisely how much focus should be input into cohesive marketing approaches creating more comprehensive and consolidated marketing strategies. Instead of struggling to pull customers from a multitude of sources, businesses can engage in a more organic conversation that illustrates the benefits for the individual. The obstacle to this type of marketing environment is information: with whom, how, when, where, and why do individual consumers want to have the conversation? Data is undoubtedly the foundation for learning more about your customers, but transforming the information into actionable data using the right channel is what will create value for your customers and organization.