Big data can offer businesses many new insights into markets and customers and one of the biggest opportunities it provides is getting the right message in front of the right person at the right time.

It is a pressing issue, urges Mark Roy, Chairman of the Data Council at the Direct Marketing Association and Chief Executive of The Data Agency.

A revised EU General Data Protection Regulation will soon tighten rules on how brands talk to customers and prospects. Consumers will be given greater rights to turn off marketing messages and so there is now a window of opportunity for companies to hone their targeting skills.

“We’re in Brussels frequently negotiating the detail but the general move is to opt-in and the word explicit is used a lot,” he says.

“So it’s likely within a couple of years it will be illegal to market to someone without their explicit consent. It’s going to be a lot easier, then, for consumers to tell brands to stop communicating with them so it’s more important than ever that companies use the vast amounts of data available to them today to ensure messages are tailored to the right people at the right time of day and with the optimum frequency.”


Boards talk data

The best thing about big data is it has got the board talking about the value of data. This can only be a good thing, Roy believes, at a time when marketers have to seriously ‘up’ their game. With the amount of information a company needs to act on growing exponentially, as well as its speed and variety, getting insight is a number one priority that has ‘buy in’ from the very top.

“We’ve always had data and there’s always been a lot of it, so in a way we’ve always had big data,” he says.

“The exciting tools that let you to gain insight into data at such fast speeds, though, mean the C level executives are interested. You never used to be able to get the board interested in data and so big data is the turning point where marketers can ensure they get the commitment to invest in the necessary tools to get a better insight in to their markets and, crucially, their customers.”

To get the most from these discussions, attention needs to focus on finessing what marketing methods and tactics work and which do not. This will ensure brands are better prepared when ‘opt in’ regulations are tightened.