TM: What structures and capabilities does a marketer have in place to do that?
WR: "There are three major steps to making use of Big Data: 1. track, 2. analyze and 3. optimize. Marketers must first identify what data they can track about the consumer, making sure to respect privacy concerns. Moreover, they must have that information stored in a way that is easily accessible. The second step is to analyze the data the marketer already has, and look to see how consumer and firm decisions interact. Based on this, it is possible to start to think of better marketing strategies to employ. These strategies can then be tested and the results recorded. This brings us to the third step, which is to optimize the marketing actions on the basis of the new information.
"In addition, if the analytics that were used turn out to be very useful, then they also need to be operationalized within the company so that they become an ongoing part of the process and not simply a one-off data mining exercise."
TM: What kind of data analytics have you seen be most helpful to marketers? Is there a "superstar" tactic that brings in flashy results?
WR: "The most useful tool in the space of analytics is the testing procedure itself. There are a lot of trade reports about different marketing strategies, such as the optimum time to tweet, or how to craft subject lines for emails, but the truth is that every consumer base is different and every consumer base will respond differently to different marketing strategies. Therefore, regardless of what analytics you are using, the most important aspect is to make sure that you are tracking their relationships to marketing actions and then updating your marketing strategy based on this optimization/testinga"