Marketing Technologies and Big Data

Austin Taylor - Software Engineer

February 2014 – The traditional way for a company to market their services to potential customers was through various media outlets: television, magazines, and radio. Then the Internet happened and mass marketing was changed forever.

What is the Internet?

A high-level view shows us that the Internet is a way for people to have near instant communication. As history shows, capitalism would find a way to use this to its advantage. The Internet presented an interesting, new, interactive medium. Traditional marketing was ‘one-way’, with companies or organizations sending out a message(s) and hoping it would be memorable. Suddenly, not only could companies cheaply market to customers, but they would receive feedback, as well. As it turns out, they received more than what they knew about the market, and often times, more than they were capable of processing. This idea gave rise to a contemporary term, known as ‘Big Data’.

What does this mean?

Big Data is a term given to the overwhelming amount of information being collected, and our ever-increasing need for better software and hardware to store and process that data. How is this information collected in the first place? Marketing technologies and analytic methods are central to this effort. Generally, every web site you visit, email you open, and application you use on your phone is building a profile of you as an individual, helping marketers offer you targeted products and services that you are most likely to be interested in. Predictions state that the value of this industry will reach $16.1 billion in 2014 and $50 billion by 2017.

The information collected through marketing technologies can give organizations a competitive advantage, by knowing in real-time what direction the market is heading, through the analysis of consumer trends.

However, marketing technologies are not the only information source feeding Big Data. Many actions performed by organizations or individuals are being tracked as well. Such examples include the healthcare industry and government. Healthcare collects information about patient prescription and medical treatment history. The government collects information used to increase the effectiveness of crime prevention and social services.

A larger question might be what happens now? How can we protect the balance of providing better services for people, based on data, while still respecting privacy concerns? There have been efforts to anonymize data by stripping unique identifiers from records like social security numbers and addresses. But as technology and processes improve, one can only imagine what the future holds for Big Data. In the hands of marketers, customizing communication to consumers, based on their preferences, means increased efficiencies of marketing dollars spent and presumably improved consumer satisfaction.

Questions or comments? Please contact Austin Taylor at