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The term “Big Data” has come into play more and more since 2011. But just what is it, and how is it used? Google defines big data as:

Extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions. 


An example of big data in action is Walt Disney’s use of the wireless tracking “MagicBands” in their parks. The MagicBands are able to track visitor information, like real-time location data, purchase history, information about the visitors, riding patterns and more. Disney analyzes the data to make better decisions to improve visitor experiences.

It’s not just huge conglomerates like Disney that are looking to take advantage of the vast amount of data now available to them. But, to be successful, this use of big data requires a strong partnership between marketing and IT. The collaboration of these two departments is crucial to retrieving the relevant data, and analyzing it in actionable ways.

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This is the first in a series of university spotlights, highlighting how higher education is bridging the marketing talent gap. 

90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. — IBM

For the first time in history, marketers have comprehensive, real-time insight into the buyer journey. As consumers, our actions can be tracked, plotted and aggregated to an unprecedented degree. Open APIs enable integrations with the click of a button, connecting data points across devices. Sophisticated advertising platforms and contextual content make it truly possible to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time.  

And yet, marketers are underprepared, and underperforming. Possibly one of the greatest deficiencies in the marketing skillset is that of data analysis. With innumerable data points and a rapidly expanding technology toolkit, marketers struggle to integrate systems, interpret data and pivot strategy based on performance. 

Marketers that began their careers yesterday are not prepared for the realities of today. And higher education is burdened with preparing future marketers for the uncertainties of tomorrow. Fortunately, universities across the country are up to the challenge. 

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"You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

In seven words, Dr. John Watson meets, and is astonished by, the legendary consulting detective Sherlock Holmes.

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Do I Need a Mobile Website?

Posted by Keith Moehring on October 20, 2011

As smartphone adoption continues to explode, mobile visits to your website will likely start to increase, if they haven't already. If you aren’t debating whether to launch a mobile version of your website, you might want to start. 

Using websites designed for a mouse and keyboard can be difficult for visitors on mobile devices with small screens, touch controls and limited user interfaces. As a result, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you may be missing out on potential new business. 

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Picks of the Week: Oct. 9-15

Posted by Laurel Miltner on October 15, 2010

In today’s Picks of the Week, we take a look at: improving keyword research with YouTube, the intricacies of local search for large organizations, marketing implications of the expanded Facebook-Microsoft partnership, how to measure engagement and the ROI of social sharing.

Search Marketing

Using YouTube as a Keyword Research Tool for SEO 

According to Keiron Hughes, although keyword-insight tools from Google, HubSpot and others are incredibly valuable for metrics like search volume and competition, "they don't provide the bigger picture, which is what you should be looking for.”

So, why YouTube?

Says Keiron: "Unlike creating a web page, uploading a video to YouTube is very accessible to anybody with a video file and an internet connection… Google prompts people to provide descriptive content about the video, such as explanatory text (description), a relevant title, and appropriate tags — so not only is it easier for the videos to be sorted, it means more data is available for us to mine."

By finding a few relevant videos on YouTube, and reviewing the comments and related videos, you’ll likely gain some excellent insight — and find new keywords that your target audiences actually use — that you otherwise may have missed. Check out Keiron’s full post for more details and specific examples.

Ranking for Keyword + Cityname in Multiple Geographies

This is an excellent, in-depth look at local-search optimization by Rand Fishkin.

You may be surprised to know that, according to Rand, “[Local search] is one of the most challenging tasks in the SEO field… you can't go the classic route of building a single page of content and simply replacing the geographic keywords with each city you're targeting. Content needs to be meaningfully unique and target the [highly localized] intents [of your target audiences].”

In my opinion, there are two key considerations for marketers:

  • For potentially very good reasons — perhaps Google adapts to the fact that local businesses simply don't have the resources of big, but often have the information their buyers seek — local search is a very tough arena for national organizations to compete.
  • There are specific strategies to employ if this is important to your business; however, due to its time commitment (and necessary budgets) consider how important local optimization really is to your business before going all-in.

If local search is a key element to your business, I highly recommend reading Rand’s full post.

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