The February Marketing Innovators luncheon featured a story about big data in action for a major B2B organization. Don Gushurst, director of global marketing operations services for Molex Inc.; and Mike Raimondi, consulting director of data and analytics for SiriusDecisions, Inc., shared the research from a recent data project the two companies had completed.
While big data is on the minds of most marketers, most companies are still in the investigation stages. Mike told a story about a big data conference he recently attended where everyone he spoke to had the same thing to say about what they were doing with big data:
“We aren’t doing much yet; we’re here to learn.” (The one exception was a government employee who said he was doing a lot with big data, but his projects were classified.)
Both presenters discussed a model for the development of a data-driven organization that involves five key elements: planning, process, data, skills and tools, and corporate culture. SiriusDecisions’ research has shown that most organizations are fairly quick to make progress on the first four, but struggle with making changes to their corporate cultures.
Mike provided details of the Molex analytics project, which involved combining website, marketing and sales data across multiple systems to identify meaningful patterns. The work resulted in a series of detailed correlations between website activity and sales. While this initiative is ongoing, it has already helped guide how the Molex sales team prioritizes follow-up on website activity from prospects and customers.
Two of the big takeaways from the presentation were:
1. Know what to look for. Many marketers are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data available in their systems. The first step to using big data to create truly actionable insights is to answer the question: “What do I want to know?” Mike quoted one SiriusDecisions client as saying, “You need to know the business in order to know the data.”
2. Empower your sales team. The buying process has changed. The buyer is in the driver’s seat, and sales no longer interacts with customers until late in the buying process, if at all. Using big data to provide your sales team with intelligence about the buyers they’re trying to reach is an invaluable way to shift your organization to a data-driven mindset.
Marketers are still trying to make sense of the opportunities and complexities involved in big data. There are plenty of challenges that won’t be solved overnight. The Molex project is a compelling example of data analysis providing real, actionable insights for a major B2B manufacturer.
Read the BMA Chicago event schedule for more informative events coming up over the next few months