6 concrete ways brands are using big data

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This is the year of big data. At least, that's certainly how it feels when you read the trade press or listen to the chatter at industry conferences. Big data, after all, is supposed to revolutionize every industry, whether we're talking about medicine, finance, law, or even sports.

In digital, we're already seeing signs of the big data revolution. Programmatic buying, once a small, tech-centric corner of our space, is growing increasingly common. At the same time, marketers, are getting better and better at marrying their own in-house data with third-party providers so that the industry can finally deliver on one of digital's biggest promises -- the ability to take the right course of action, at the right time, with the right message, in the right channel. And then there's mobile, which many marketers see as the vital glue necessary to close the loop between digital and the physical world, and in the process, produce a reservoir of data that can personalize any experience.

6 concrete ways brands are using big data

It all sounds pretty good. But at the moment, a lot of what we hear about big data isn't exactly the day-to-day stuff of marketing. Right now, many marketers are still struggling to find concrete ways to use big data to their advantage. In fact, in a recent survey that polled 47 multinational brands with a combined ad spend of $35 billion annually, three quarters of the respondents said they were currently unprepared to take advantage of big data opportunities. About half the respondents said the biggest hold up was finding the employees with the right skill sets to leverage big data, but just as many advertisers confessed that they were drowning in big data overflow and were unable to cut through the noise.

Of course, it's hard to staff up or cut through the noise if your brand doesn't have a goal. After all, big data is just a tool; you have to figure out what you want to do with it. For that reason, we've put together a list of concrete examples that showcase what a variety of brands are doing right now with big data. Who knows, perhaps these examples from your peers will inspire the next great data-driven marketing idea.