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Big Data and market research transforming the inner business

FEBRUARY 2, 2012 – Market research and analytics serve a number of purposes across a variety of industries, influencing outward advertising decisions while also impacting internal operations, including leadership.

In an interview with Forbes contributor Dan Woods, Michael Rappa – director of the Institute for Advanced Analytics at North Carolina State University – says the use of Big Data can bring the kind of clarity that organizations need in order to make choices that will affect them for years to come.

“The net result of big data is a more decisive kind of decision making,” said Rappa, adding later that “Data really parts the clouds from the vision, if you will.”

The next challenge to integrate Big Data and marketing analytics into the company will be using the information to achieve a deeper understanding of the organization itself, how it acts and how it plays into the greater environment.

When it comes to applying that new awareness to the sales side of the business, Big Data can once again be useful. Christine Crandell writes in a separate column for Forbes that the details can help a company keep track of all its current and upcoming leads and sales. Getting rid of the guesswork in sales is a top priority, she says, and being able to make the pipeline visible is also important.

Crandell adds that social media can work as a powerful tool for salespeople, not just marketers, because it gives the first group an idea of the expectations consumers have developed through advertising and promotions. These two departments can also collaborate on monitoring customers for changes in their behavior and buying habits.

“Knowing that a buyer is about to disengage from a sales cycle, based on past patterns of behavior, enables a sales manager to either quickly disqualify the opportunity or get it back on track to win,” she observes. 

This tactic could deliver much better results, enabling the salesperson to quickly tailor his or her pitch instead of delivering the same message regardless of the audience. In terms of human resources, this will also allow the company to abandon a blanket training strategy or “the quarterly termination of the bottom 10 percent of the sales force,” Crandell comments.