Big Data Marketing: Engage Your Customers More Effectively and Drive Value

by Lisa Arthur

“Why don’t you know your customers better?” Lisa Arthur’s diagnosis: “Your data is fragmented.”

“Today’s marketers must engage buyers and prospects with conversations, solicit and act on customer feedback, and deliver experiences that are personalized, timely, and relevant.” Big data marketing makes this possible.

“Big data marketing is the process of collecting, analyzing, and executing on the insights you’ve derived from big data to encourage customer engagement, improve marketing results, and measure internal accountability… Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis.”

Lisa Arthur has been a marketer since 1984 so she has seen her share of game-changing technology trends. “The current frenzy over big data reminds me of digital’s early days because, once again, we’re seeing the hype around the latest trend become so intense that it distracts business leaders and threatens to mask the actual value and opportunity the technological innovation can deliver… We don’t want to make the same mistakes we did when eCommerce became a disruptor and created silos of customer experience and more fragmented consumer and buyer data.”

“Your goal is to integrate marketing and use big data insights across the enterprise so you can drive value by engaging customers more effectively… Technology is never the panacea. It’s the enabler… More data does not equal the right data, and data alone does not equal insight.”

Arthur sees a growing role for Data Scientists in marketing. “They’re trained in subjects like statistics and advanced predictive analytics, and they understand that today, data drives revenue. Data scientists recognize that marketing operations are strategic, and they work to craft the qualitative expression of quantitative insights for widespread use across the company.”

“Once you start untangling the data hairball and using analytics to find insights, you can’t stop there. You must take action on those insights and use them to: adjust campaigns; optimize marketing spend; improve your media mix; provide truly personalized, relevant offers for each individual customer, and so on.”

The author believes marketing technology has reached an inflection point in which there must be a shift from point solutions to consolidated and integrated applications in order to fulfill the vision of true 1-to-1 marketing. Integrated marketing management (IMM) technology is the software that facilitates big data marketing. IMM “focuses on simplifying the complexity of data, processes, interaction channels, and insights. IMM provides the tools needed to not only streamline internal workflow, but also to interact with customers and prospects in innovative and personalized ways across an ever-widening array of channels and platforms.”

Another side of big data marketing is accountability. The author cites Jim Lenskold, author of Marketing ROI, who says “it’s better to measure and act on select metrics than to attempt to measure everything for reporting purposes.” She also cites UCLA marketing professor Dominique Hanssens who cautions that a fixation on maximizing ROI can lead to an underinvestment in marketing, because most marketing is subject to the law of diminishing returns; he explains why Return on Marginal Marketing Investment (ROMMI) is a better approach.

A recurring theme in this book is to start small. “Don’t boil the ocean… Don’t add unnecessary complexity… Start with a big vision and then execute with small, short-term goals. Once you establish credibility and momentum, you can align metrics across the marketing organization and the entire enterprise and achieve larger, broader-based objectives… Establish a culture where employees are encouraged to fail fast—and safely. To be a change agent you will need to cultivate an environment of trust and an acceptance of failure. Learn as you go. Execute, evaluate, evolve.”

Lisa Arthur writes with the perspective of an experienced marketing executive. She does have an inherent bias—she is Chief Marketing Officer for Teradata Applications (previously Aprimo) which sells the Teradata Integrated Marketing Management (IMM) solution—but the book does not read like a sales pitch for Teradata.

Arthur, Lisa. Big Data Marketing: Engage Your Customers More Effectively and Drive Value. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2013. Buy from

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I received a review copy of this book.