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What Marketers Should Know About Data Lakes To Make The Most Of Information

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The global data lake market was valued at $7.6 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow more than 20.6% from 2020 to 2027. These powerful, cloud-based platforms offer a holistic view of marketing initiatives. They also aid exploration and research by utilizing advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to comb through large amounts of information. But before brands, agencies, and publishers dive in, they need to understand the risks and rewards data lakes inherently bring. 

Data Drives Innovation

Unlike data warehouses — which lack some flexibility because they only hold structured information — data lakes allow brands to process and store unstructured text, photos and videos from multiple sources in their original, unaltered forms.

The amount of information stored in data lakes can be vast. Because of this, it should be high-quality, manageable and easy to access, as it is used to drive valuable business decisions. Untrustworthy data can be potentially detrimental to companies, but teams with a 360-degree view get reliable and quality intelligence, so they can make more informed conclusions.

One vital part of this process is democratizing data to support the business. If the data lake is structured well, users will find the information they are interested in instantly. Companies need to organize and catalog data systematically while allowing easy access to anyone interested in utilizing it. Furthermore, organizations must develop clear retention policies when determining which information is necessary to store. Businesses should leverage data lakes strategically and take advantage of industry trends without wasting money and resources. 

To achieve these goals, companies must remove silos. By collaborating, gathering accurate data and overcoming challenges, they will analyze information faster and flag problems right away. Teams that utilize data lakes intelligently gain a much-needed competitive edge in machine learning and AI. With these quality insights at their disposal, they can drive their businesses forward.

Harnessing The Full Potential Of Data Lakes

Though data warehouses and data lakes have different functions, they need each other to succeed. Data lakes are useful for exploratory research or historical analyses, while data warehouses support real-time business intelligence. This dual framework is crucial to make informed decisions and provide strategic business insights.

Data lakes are powerful and efficient, but they also bring obstacles along with them. Because they lack structure, it is challenging to locate and remove records while ensuring compliance with privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). 

But adhering to these requirements comes with the territory, so businesses should keep internal and external regulations in mind while classifying, labeling and encrypting data. Failure to do so could result in costly hacks that jeopardize the company’s future. Ensuring compliance will benefit businesses and allow marketers to take full advantage of the potential data lakes provide.

Why Marketers Should Take the Plunge

In my experience as CTO at a company specializing in advertising powered by technology, I have found data lakes to have several consumer applications. They allow brands to tie together disparate information and determine customers’ pathways to purchase in-store and online, simplifying a complicated process. 

Most cloud providers offer data lake services on a pay-per-use model with zero upfront cost. Customers can even monitor their expenses on a minute-by-minute basis. That makes the cost/benefit analysis much easier to address. If the price of one specific analysis outweighs the benefits, marketers can stop using it or try to tune it until it is worth the money.

Once advertisers decide to dip their toes into data lakes, they must ensure the platforms are secure by implementing proper controls. That way, they will know which users have access to which parts of the data. Granting specific usage rights and implementing reasonable restrictions ensures that users get the information they need without accessing sensitive information.

After those security measures are in place, marketers need to implement a clear governance framework laying out best practices for who can put what in the data lake. For example, users who are only analyzing basic or broad information would not — and should not — be able to view or edit mission-critical business documents.

Advertisers who tap into the power of data lakes can model consumer shopping behavior across devices by segmenting audiences. With full control over information, they also get a holistic view of branding initiatives.

Furthermore, taking advantage of these actionable insights to intelligently increase spot frequency can drive a higher return on investment and reach customers instantly. Marketers should focus on improving campaigns by investing in the right audience platforms and changing tactics as needed to ensure success.

Data lakes can help give brands the information they need to achieve business goals and gain a competitive edge in an increasingly insights-driven world. If chosen and implemented thoughtfully, data lakes can help advertisers’ companies grow and keep up with changing regulations to avoid rough waters in marketing. 

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