Big Data. It seems to be the only buzzword that any company with any online presence speaks to. And with good reason. Now that huge amounts of data can be gathered from literally anywhere on the web, sorted, synthesized, and reported by specific queries, businesses can gain great competitive advantage. Here are just a couple of examples of what data science can deliver:

  • Car insurance companies can learn exactly how many miles any driver puts on his car in a year, just by checking the data from oil changes on the car – data that is out there in cyberspace.
  • Lenders can learn the borrowing history of any demographic and use it to devise new loan products that data predicts they will find attractive.
  • Companies can extract buyer purchasing histories and predict what those consumers will want/need in the near future. They can use that info to develop new products or to market specific products to specific demographics.

For us, as consumers, that stands for more relevant offers, better deals and product/content recomendations, and ultimately less annoying or irrelevant ads. I’m definitely “not lovin’ it” when I’m reading a blog post about healthy diets :).

For companies that do business online and that want to market to the right audience at the right time with the right products, big data is what they need. So here is a list of tools that marketers will need to use if they want the data they need to target their potential customers and save themselves time and money in the process.

1. SerpWow

SerpWow offers an API (application programming interface) that will allow your server to access SERP results from major search engines around the globe. You simply pose your query and let the API do its work to retrieve the data you want and report it to you in human-readable text (JSON).

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As a marketer, for example, you may want to know how many people have searched for a product or service similar to yours, where they are (you can be location-specific), and what keywords/phrases they used for those searches. You can use this data to develop your marketing campaigns and strategies. No more manual keyword searches; no more digging into competitors’ activities; no more guesswork.

2. MonkeyLearn

Marketing, sales and customer service departments are all interwoven but are often unable to coordinate all of their efforts. Why? Because each of these departments is collecting and using different types of information for their specific tasks, and are doing it manually.

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MonkeyLearn is a comprehensive data collection and analysis tool that serves far more than the marketing, sales, and customer service departments of a business, but for marketers specifically, its API’s will analyze text documents, collect, classify, and analyze responses to email campaigns, provide CRM lead categories for drip campaigns, deliver alerts on customer/client satisfaction, and even provide data that will analyze customer churn risk. Marketers can define their categories and tags to structure the text data they want.

The beauty of this amazing tools is that the same data can be quickly and easily shared among all departments that relate directly to customers. Again, no more intuition and guessing. The data can drive everything you do to, for, and with your customer base.

3. Optimizely

Customers want experiences, not just sales pitches. And most marketing campaigns now try to provide those personalized experiences, rather than toss generic offers. Amazon is a master at this. Every time a customer shops/purchases something, their data engines go to work. That customer will receive related offers based on what his/her demographic has also bought; that customer’s landing page will be different from his friend’s, based upon searching and shopping behaviors.

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You don’t have the “engines” that amazon has, but you have access to data from tools you are using. Now it’s time to use that data to personalize your marketing by delivering targeted content to our current and potential customers. This is what Optimizely can do for you.

You can connect browsing behavior, demographic information and other clues to get a good picture of your customer – a picture based on science not guesswork. You can then target individual customers with marketing material that they will find valuable and relevant. In winter months, for example, a clothier can target those in cold climates with that specific clothing.

But it doesn’t stop there. You will then receive results in real time as each campaign is run through Optimizely’s “Stats Engine.” These results can inform future marketing campaigns you will design.

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4. Litmus

Email campaigns remain hugely important to marketing efforts. But with consumers’ mailboxes full of marketing messages, yours have to be better, more targeted, engaging, and compatible with all devices and on all platforms. Here is where Litmus enters your marketing picture. With this little tool, you can accomplish all of the following:

  • Build you email and the review it on over 70 platforms. You will see exactly how it will appear to the recipients
  • Catch errors before sending. Suppose an image is not showing up; suppose you have broken inks you don’t know about; suppose load time is too long on some platforms or devices. All of this can be checked automatically before you send anything
  • Monitor opens and usage by platform to gauge consumer engagement. Use geographic and demographic data to segment and design for specific audiences

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This is really a “Cadillac” among email tools – one that you will be able to use to design and fine-tune for optimum open rates. Remember: the more opens and the more engagement, the greater the revenue potential.

5. Sizeup

Business intelligence. Another buzzword, but a critical one. In short, it is whatever a business does to acquire data and turn it into useful information that can inform decisions. It is especially important in marketing, and Sizeup provides the solution you will want. there are a number of specific activities you can perform with this tool:

  • Find out exactly where you are outperforming or underperforming in relation to your competitors.
  • Determine where competitors are, where they are not, and where they are expanding their marketing efforts.
  • See the data in easily readable reports and get recommendations about how to improve in categories you determine.
  • Discover where to find new potential customers.

All of this is based on real-time data that will streamline your marketing decisions and make the best use of your time and money.

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6. Hunch

Marketers spend hours upon hours manually analyzing how their campaigns are performing on every platform they are using; they use some analytics tools and manually enter the information, by platform, and then run the numbers. What is all of this could be consolidated in one place? How much time would be saved?

This tool name, “Hunch,” is really a misnomer. There are no hunches involved here – just solid data that will allow automated workflows of routine marketing campaign management, and analysis and interpretation of all ad performances, so that decision-making can occur as rapidly as market conditions change. All of this is accomplished in one place, with plenty of automation that allows the marketing team to focus on strategy not activity.

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7. Rocco.ai

Artificial intelligence and machine learning – they are a huge part of data science, and marketers are just beginning to realize all that this technology can deliver. Not only does it analyze consumer behaviors, it predicts them for the future. Rocco AI goes beyond this. Based upon a business, its brand, and its customer base, it will come up with strategies and fresh content topics, so you don’t have to.

Beyond that, Rocco will provide regular updates on how each of your campaigns are performing so that you can optimize those that are, modify those in need of change and dump those that are not working. The day you begin using Rocco AI will be remembered as a good thing that happened to you.

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It’s Time to Move into Big Data

Technology is disrupting every industry and every niche within those industries. And it is evolving so rapidly, it is hard to keep up. Marketing is no longer a task that relies on opinions, hunches, and gut feelings. It has become soundly scientific, relying on big data that is gathered from all of the huge lakes out there is cyberspace. Large enterprises are hiring data scientists to establish the algorithms they need to mine this data. But they are high-priced and in short supply. Fortunately, for the smaller business, and especially its marketing department, the technology of data science is now available. Using these 7 tools will not only put that data at marketers’ fingertips, it will analyze and report it in easily readable ways. Marketers now have the ability to compete with the big boys.