Harnessing the Power of Big Data in Marketing

The concept of “big data” is already 20 years old, and until now it was defined mainly by size and computational problems, with less focus on the opportunities it creates.

The amount of data in the world is growing exponentially, and most of this is because every Internet user, both human and non-human (IoT) is a data creator, willingly or unaware.

Most of this will never be used or looked at again, yet the trend is to store it…just in case.

A report by IBM released in late 2016, shows that 90% of existing data at that moment was at most two years old. Most of it comes from YouTube videos, images, Tweets, Google search queries, and e-mails.

Add the metadata attached to the human-created content, throw in the data created by wearables, beacons, and sensors and you have a more complete the picture.

The real question is: “How can a marketer use all these bits and pieces to drive growth for their business?”

How Is Big Data Different?

The best characterization of big data is the 5Vs: volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and value.

The difference between traditional data and big data is not just size, as the structure also plays a significant role in assessing the dissimilarities.

Big data includes a small part of structured data, carefully organized in tables that could be analyzed using conventional techniques, but the largest part is unstructured or semi-structured.

The unstructured part includes images, comments, and reviews while labels, tags, and keywords define the semi-structured portion.

Big data allows marketers to be accurate and address the habits of the consumer – all in real time.

It is a paradigm shift from the traditional approach of marketing, which used historical data to compute general trends.

Enter the era of the long tail marketing, where niche products are becoming more important than generic products.

Applications of Big Data in Marketing

Personalized Consumer Experiences

Consumers are becoming more connected and distracted at the same time. Companies are competing for a bit of their attention and are adapting the traditional sales techniques to the online environment.

Using the name and details of the person is a way to make them feel important and stop for a while, just enough to hear your pitch.

Customization should go far beyond this and provide relevant options, taking into consideration the previous actions of the consumer such as items they searched for, goods added to the basket but not purchased, or even comments on social media.

Real-time response

Users create data which powers real-time marketing by allowing cookies in the browser, checking in at various locations through social media or just having their location tracker activated.

Clients welcome on the spot marketing opportunities, although these are intrusive, if they come as coupons or discounts.

Providing guidance or responses to unsatisfied customers is another way of taking advantage of real-time interaction. Adjust your suggestions based on their search keywords.

Contextual marketing

Simply put, this means to be in the right place, at the right time, ready to make the customer an offer he or she can’t refuse.

Suggest alternative or complementary products to their choice, welcome first-time visitors and greet returning ones while thanking them for their loyalty.

Add a free delivery option when the value of the goods from the basket is approaching a threshold. Make the customer spend as much time as possible on your site due to engagement.

Offer personal support and call center alternatives for clients struggling to find what they need. Take the relationship off-line with a call or an appointment in a brick and mortar store, if possible.

Optimising Price Strategies

The online environment offers the opportunity to compare prices instantly. Keep triggers on the competition’s price strategy, show variation graphs to customers and enable them to set price alert targets.

These alarms give a valuable insight into the amount they are ready to spend on the product – most of all, they help you make a sale before a competitor does.

Consider retargeting an interested customer when the price has dropped to a value close to their alarm.

Identifying Gaps

If a client searches for something that is not on offer – although it would make sense for it to be – use this information to fill in your stocks or create the service.

List your products and think about the niches that could benefit from each of them, and are not currently engaged.

Design campaigns to target these segments and analyze results. Use big data tools to evaluate your competitor’s moves, including AdWords purchasing or keywords considered for ranking.

Reducing Costs & Increasing Revenue

Big data allows you to do more with fewer resources. Use the insights provided by the analysis to identify your 80/20 rule (which small niche is driving your growth) and invest in that.

Companies can save on publicity costs by engaging only with interested prospects. Optimize delivery by being present on the right channels, at the right times for your audience.

Learn from Amazon and think about the lifetime value of a client, not only short-term gains.

Big data helps you build a personal relation to each customer, in a way that is similar to how friendships develop; don’t let that go to waste.

Performing tests

Data and tests are a perfect match, and big data is bringing the game to a whole new level. You can learn about what your customers like, peek into online trends to see what is hot, and measure the shareability of your content.

It is possible to use big data to evaluate the potential of a thing to go viral.

Additionally, perform tests to optimize your landing pages and identify the specific problems of your website by looking at behaviors and bounce rates.

It’s best to make a map of your customer’s interactions with your site and redesign it to guide them to a buy.

Create different versions of an ad and let the automated algorithms pick the best version.

Challenges of Big Data for Marketing

  • Appropriate tools

Their lack of structure makes Excel sheets, and SQL commands powerless in front of big data.

The variety of the unstructured data and the presence of natural language are serious challenges to overcome and usually require dedicated solutions. Big data consulting services use clustering techniques, including fuzzy clusters methods to help marketers understand and define consumer groups.

This approach is closer to reality and further away from the traditional demographic/sociographic segmentations.

  • Relevance

Although data is abundant, time and resources are limited and expensive. Therefore, the main problem of any marketer is selecting the most relevant items.

Business strategy should be the driving force behind the collection process. The marketing department should first define KPIs and attach proper measures to these to harness the power of big data.

Automation can help analyze data, but the machine needs clear instructions from humans. For each KPI, the data scientists will select a few data sets to be recorded.

Tests will reveal that only a handful of indicators should be kept in the dashboard in the long run.

Aggregating data in indicators or compound sets is a way of capturing more information while remaining with a small number of final results.

  • Security

Privacy concerns are growing as big data is considered an invasion of one’s personal life by conservators. Identity theft, intrusiveness, and lack of control over personal data are all concerns of clients.

The personal data is necessary to power artificial intelligence algorithms and make them learn about users to provide dedicated responses. Anonymous and aggregated data do not pose any direct security threat to users.

The real problems and opportunity for crime arise when data can be traced back to a single user, revealing behavioral patterns and preferences that a hacker could use.


Big data does not lead to better marketing automatically, it is just another powerful tool. The real change remains in the hands of marketing strategists.

Their mission is harder in this new context since simple forecasting tools based on demographic and sociographic characteristics no longer work alone. The solution is to pair census results with robust algorithms to create user personas, not consumer groups.

The hardest part is not analyzing, but selecting the most relevant indicators for the job from the ocean of possibilities. It is a problem of quality versus quantity.

Not all organizations are mature enough to harness the power of big data, although almost all can recognize the commercial potential behind it.

Marketers should think backward to get the right steps in implementing big data. Start by defining the desired outcomes, study the clients’ behaviors that lead to such results and determine the triggers.

Finally, deliver the incentive at the most convenient moment by using the customer’s preferred online channel and cash on the results.

Business Software

The Ultimate List of Talent Management Software Features

Modern HR professionals don’t rely only on their intuition and experience but also on talent management software. This is a contemporary tool which helps companies to successfully hire and retain employees.

The U.S. Labor Bureau recently stated that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. That’s why HR departments use talent management software to reduce mistakes as much as possible.

Even more, software solutions enable companies to choose the most talented, young professionals. With a tool like this, human resource managers improve employee efficiency, engagement, productivity, and the overall quality of work. In this article, we will go through the 9 most important features of a successful talent management software.


There are two types of talent management solutions: off-the-shelf and custom software. The first solution usually offers a wide scope of possibilities, covering the needs of all sorts of businesses in general.

This kind of software is adequate for a variety of industries that don’t require more detailed and complex elements. On the other side, custom talent management software provides companies with functions designed specially to adapt to their specific needs.

This is very important for talent management and planning in companies which have a clear vision of their future development.

Additionally, it is perfect for organizations which are proactive and always come up with new ways of handling human resources. Custom software allows companies to be creative and add new elements to their HR strategies, giving them the comparative advantage over competitors.


Whether you use a generic model or custom software, there are some most important features that are inherent to all of these tools. Here are the top 9 elements of all talent management software:

  • Recruiting process

Talent management software helps HR teams to elect the most promising individuals. It automates a significant amount of work otherwise done by HR staff, assessing skills and knowledge of applicants through reliable social networks.

It is developed to track potential acquisitions based on a number of criteria. These include previous work experience, academic titles, practical skills, and so on. The recruiting process relies heavily on keywords, meaning that this part of talent management software encourages the so-called recruitment optimization.

With all the relevant information coming from a multi-channel source, TMS helps in decision making when it comes to new staff members. It is perfect to determine and evaluate the applicant’s knowledge and professional skills prior to the actual face-to-face interview.

  • Learning management

Contemporary industries demand constant adaptations and new knowledge, which is why companies dedicate a lot of time and resources to learning management. This feature is essential to keep employees productive and engaged, so talent management tools encourage it through their functions.

According to recent Glassdoor’s analysis, a 10% increase in employee engagement investments grows profits by $2,400 per worker each year. Therefore, software points out the strong sides of employee’s education but also emphasizes the potential for additional education opportunities.

The TMS learning management provides companies with a unique and uniform system for all team members. The learning feature helps organizations to create a generic library of all the necessary study materials, while also analyzing the outcome of learning practices for each of the participants. This element is very important to determine if the course results are compatible with company goals.

  • Performance management

It is not enough to simply hire an employee. As a matter of fact, real challenges begin at that point, as companies have to carefully monitor a worker’s progress. In that regard, the TMS performance management measures each employee’s achievements to determine if these meet the expected results.

Performance management is crucial for long-term control and extensive governance. When applied perfectly, performance features improve the overall quality of work and lead to better cooperation among employees on a vertical scale. Additionally, managers are able to follow the progress of their subordinates and to let them know when results are not satisfactory.

  • SaaS

Talent management also comes in the form of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, which is convenient due to continuous changes in the field and new market releases. It is cost-effective since the cost is determined by the number of team members who use it, and by the functions it provides.

Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about software updates or upgrades since you can switch to another platform almost instantly. SaaS is superb in the early stages of a company’s talent management process because it offers testing potential and great mobility. Once you figure out how a specific SaaS works, you are free to move on and explore another, more suitable option.

  • Social media integration

Talent management software gains much of its power from successful social media integration. This feature is essential for both the employers and employees, as according to Job Seeker Nation Study 59% of candidates use social media to research the company culture of organizations they are interested in.

On the other side, organizations use social media to send targeted messages or investigate candidate profiles instead of their official resumes.

As social media networks keep playing important roles in our everyday lives, it is also evident that HR staff must have the right tool to keep an eye on all potential candidates and current employees. And even employees benefit from social media integration because it helps them relax from time to time and then go back to planned duties with more commitment.

  • Compensation management

Compensation management is an extremely sensitive part of the employment process, so it requires special attention. Employees in big organizations can often be unsatisfied with their income, and their managers might not even know it.

That’s why the TMS compensation management feature keeps an eye on such delicate details all the time. It serves to analyze all expenses and pay, suggesting modifications or bonuses according to key indicators. This kind of management makes it easier for HR staff to administer salaries, plan budgets, make bonus recommendations, and evaluate productivity. Even more, compensation management follows how salary modifications affect employees in terms of engagement, productivity, and performance.

  • Glocalization

International organizations face the challenge of establishing a uniform corporate culture and general principles for all branches. Therefore, their biggest problem is how to develop human resource practices which can produce similar results in all environments and conditions.

The same goes for companies situated in one country but with a huge variety of commodities and services. This problem is usually too difficult for traditional HR sectors, whereas talent management software offers practical solutions, compatible with local cultural preferences. At the same time, software respects general company rules, so it creates some sort of glocalization while dealing with talent acquisition.

  • Succession management

Succession management is crucial for stable company functioning over longer periods of time. Big companies are like a living organism, requiring all parts to work together to achieve the planned results.

When HR staff is not well-prepared for sudden changes in executive or managerial positions, it can cause enormous damage to the organization. That’s why succession planning is one of the most important features of talent management software.

It offers an overview of the most suitable talents, both internally and externally, who can step in and take over specific duties. TMS also suggests the right kind of training and preparation for targeted employees, who are supposed to take over available positions.

It’s no wonder that 75% of recruiters use some model of TMS, while 94% of those claim that it improved their recruiting process. Obviously, this kind of approach to succession management leads to smooth changes in employee structure, making sure that the business as a whole doesn’t suffer.

  • Holistic approach

Human resources management demands a lot of precise work and attention since there are so many elements involved in the process.

We mentioned the majority of these features as part of the talent management software. Obviously, HR professionals must take care of talent acquisition, career paths, promotions, succession management, salaries, bonuses, and all sorts of other features.

All this cannot be executed without a holistic approach and strategic thinking. In that regard, it is surprising to know how many talent management tools offer one or only a few of these features. Therefore, the final feature of an efficient TMS is to cover all aspects of human resources. Only such complete tools can provide companies with adequate talent recruitment solutions.


HR technology is widely accepted among the big business players and international corporations. This kind of software brings more comfort in workforce planning and allows HR teams to make better decisions. It seems like organizations which use the most recent TMS solutions are spending 22% less per employee on human resources.

The value of talent management software is undisputed but we tried to explain the features that make it so productive. From talent acquisition and compensation management to succession planning and a holistic view of the process – it is all there. Feel free to analyze it step by step and let us know if you have something to add to our observations.