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Big Data: The Hot Commodity for Marketing in 2017 and Beyond?

Big Data: The Hot Commodity for Marketing

Will the market for consumer data ever come to a breaking point? Let me explain. When it comes to digital marketing agencies—agencies that are responsible for a great deal of the content you see everyday online—83 percent see the demand for data analytics rising in 2017.

Even as you read this, cookies from sites you previously visited are tracking your activity. Your ISP is also tracking it, and can sell the data to marketing agencies. Of course, what you’ll end up seeing as a result is more content and ads based around data and analytics, uses for big data in marketing, as well as the cloud, IoT, and how you can take advantage of these things—if you buy SaaS products.

If marketers have a lot of demand for analytics and big data products, then they’re seeing ROI from these products. The data they use to determine buyer preferences and habits, as well as predict trends, are converting into sales.

But is there a point when the general public will grow wary of this? Is there a point when they’ll start ignoring marketing messages due to suspicion that their data—which some argue the consumer should own—is being used to manipulate them into making purchases?

These questions are worth asking. It’s time to look at consumer perception and industry predictions on where big data marketing is headed.

The Industry Eye

Big data is big business with a rapidly progressing tech approach. According to Maryville University, revenue from business analytics will hit $200 billion by 2020. That’s a projection that sees big data marketing continuing unimpeded, with increasingly sophisticated means of going about it. AI will be the tool for analysing massive lakes of consumer data. Developers of self-driving cars and other IoT innovations will improve the quality of AI deep learning.

Raw data and various value-added content will be bought and sold either via marketplaces or in bilateral transactions, and enterprises will begin to develop methods for valuing their data,” says Gil Press, Managing Partner of gPress, a marketing consultancy.

If enterprises are going to have “methods for valuing their data”, that means they will have distilled marketing analytics down to a science. They’ll be able to predict the ROI of a zettabyte of data with a fair amount of accuracy, and will be able to put a concrete price tag on data as a result. The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts we’ll be producing 180 zettabytes (180 trillion gigabytes) of data per year by 2025. There’ll be a lot of supply. For a great many companies, demand for data will be based on whether marketing can turn them into revenue and profits.

According to Maryville University, “In the near future, we will see more devices, appliances, and tools developed to communicate data via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and near field communication (NFC). The data mined from these devices can contribute complex, precise insights to market research analysts and business decision-makers.” Devices that communicate data via Wi-Fi will feed into the much-hyped 5G network for smartphones. Cellphone carriers play a huge role in the amount of data that will be produced and mined.

T-Mobile is hyping its 5G network, which apparently can transmit data at 12 gigabits per second. On its own website, the carrier claims that every Wi-Fi connection now acts like a T-Mobile tower. Although the carrier’s 5G apparatus isn’t officially in place yet, the idea of Wi-Fi-capable devices taking the place of cellphone towers is very much like a 5G network. The main difference is 5G will use Wi-Fi transmitters in combination with larger bandwidths (up to 20 megahertz) to increase speeds. T-Mobile’s new Wi-Fi network makes coverage more ubiquitous but doesn’t increase speeds—yet.

5G will make for even more consumer data, which the marketing industry is eager to mine. In turn, AI analytics technology that can help businesses monetize data will see increasing demand.

Thanks to mobile devices, people spend more time on the internet now than ever. But are consumers excited about their data going to the highest bidder for marketing purposes?

Consumer Perception

The answer to the above question is a resounding “no.” Marketing Week reports that, out of 34,000 people surveyed worldwide, 71 percent feel brands are using their personal data unethically. Although marketing through the use of predictive technologies is a relatively new tactic in the grand scheme of things, 58 percent of the survey respondents have already decided not to use a “digital service” because of “privacy concerns.” How many more will rule out services as concerns rise?

This comes at a time when cyberattacks are rampant. As I write this, the data troves of 45,000 organizations in 74 countries are infected with ransomware. Organizations are eager to monetize data, but cyberattacks and concerns over invasions of privacy have made consumers unhappy about it.

This also comes at a time when business are seeing cybersecurity staff shortages. It’s bad enough that nearly three-quarters of people view brands’ big data practices as unethical. How are consumers supposed to trust data collection and monetization at all when their data isn’t secure?

Clearly, brands need to be transparent in a very bold way about two things:

  • What their data collection and marketing practices are
  • What they are doing to keep consumer data secure

If this doesn’t happen, the future of big data marketing analytics looks cloudy at best. Predictions on ROI, revenue, and profits are just that: predictions. If consumers continue to view big data practices in a bad light, and security concerns continue to mount, the big data marketing industry could be dead by 2020.

By Daniel Matthews

Daniel Matthews

Daniel Matthews is a freelance writer from Boise, ID. Daniel received his Bachelor's in English from Boise State University in 2006, and is currently working on a book about the 2008 financial crisis. Widely-published online, he specializes in research and analysis that sheds light on the intersection of tech, business, and current affairs. Daniel is an avid writer and technology enthusiast whose mission is to bring journalistic integrity and informed opinions to his audience in ways that make them think differently about the world. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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