We hear this often: big data means big headaches for marketers due to the overwhelming volumes of information that are hard to sort through to find the right data that is then actionable. In many organizations, only a data scientist or analyst can make sense of this data, paralyzing marketers from taking action in real-time, and leading to reporting inefficiencies, poor decision making, higher costs and a lack of strategic insights needed to better understand your audience.
These days, marketers are expected to morph into a new role overnight: one part creative agency, one part communications specialist and one part data scientist. Combine that with the plethora of digital channels including display advertising, social, email, mobile and paid search, and we have a recipe for a frustrated marketer.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Big data, especially the right data, takes the uncertainty out of marketing, provided you use the right software and tools to democratize this data so everyone can access it in your company. When used the right way, big data can help marketers identify, win, serve and retain customers better. We now know more about our audiences, their behaviors, demographics and brand affinities than ever before, enabling more targeted, relevant and loyalty-building marketing that’s changing how customers interact with businesses worldwide.
Big data provides tangible competitive advantages, but only if you ask the right questions. So before you invest in your next campaign, here are five questions every marketer should be asking of big data:
1. How effective is your current marketing and how easy is it to find the right-data?
Although there are already plenty of measurable metrics to assess the performance of marketing campaigns, big data can help you gain more strategic, actionable insights. Whether you’re struggling to sell tickets to a concert or game, trying to drive downloads of your mobile app, or focused on increasing the conversion rate of sponsor ads on your site, it’s time to look beyond just the basic metrics.
How well do you really understand your audience and tailor your campaigns to send relevant messaging to different segments? For example could you identify a segment of your female customers, 25-35 years old, who visited your website, bought Premium Infield tickets to a baseball game, connected with WiFi at your stadium, bought a Bud Light at the game, and love the Lexus brand of cars? How hard is it to find this segment and market a specific product to them via email or social ads?
You should push for the ability to easily and ethically collect and own your customer data, visualize the exact segments you need, and take action, all in real-time. The first step is to determine if your existing data and tools empower anyone on your team to do this seamlessly.
2. What’s the right data you need that can help grow your business?
Assuming your marketing team has established the KPIs that define the company’s goals, you then need to arm your team with the right, real-time data they need to achieve those goals. Sure, everyone tracks visits to their website, conversions and purchase history. But which data is important and which data is just noise? We often collect data for the sake of collecting it without pausing to think if it’s actually solving for a business problem.
For example: Less than 2% of your website’s visitors will convert to customers, but do you know why the other 98% of visitors didn’t convert, and more importantly what content, products or offers you need on your site to drive engagement and win their business?
Businesses often find that they may need new software or tools to help them do this efficiently and in real-time. Focus on the right data that will surprise and delight customers and win repeat business. Because if you don’t, your competitors will.
3. What data can you extract to wow customers and gain a competitive edge?
Who are my customers? What are their needs? These are questions every marketer should be able to answer. Big data tells you what and how much your customers buy, what other products they buy, where they buy them, their favorite brands, which stores they shop at online and visit in person, and so much more.
There are many ways to delight your customers without spending heavily on giveaways and discounts. Use your big data to learn about customers’ personal behavior and brand affinities and develop personalized initiatives to boost profits and retention. Companies like Amazon have perfected the science of wowing their customers with the right data and winning their loyalty.
By utilizing the right data during customer interactions over phone, chat, email or direct mail, corporations can humanize marketing and build favorable relationships.
“T-Mobile cut their churn rate by 50% by using big data.”
A key measure of success is how you’re doing against your competition. In addition to measuring your “Share of Search” and “Share of Shelf,” it’s essential you know exactly what your competitors are doing better than you. Why do your customers love a certain competitor’s product over yours? You can find this data by analyzing posts on Facebook, Twitter and online reviews on Yelp, Amazon, etc. Big data can help you use these valuable insights in real-time to retain customer loyalty and gain new customers via reach extension programs.
For example, T-Mobile cut their churn rate by 50% by using big data to find out why some customers were moving to competitors, and what similar behaviors and risk factors these customers shared. By creating a system to identify at-risk customers, and intervening when needed, the company significantly reduced churn.
4. Can you find the 80/20 analytics that matter?
Any good marketer knows the value of the right 80/20 analytics. Just 20% of your customers often generate about 80% of your company’s top-line revenue. So, it’s not enough to just acquire thousands of customers. It’s more important to know which of those customers are your influential super-fans who drive several millions of dollars in sales. Once you know who they are, you can identify the key traits and affinities of these customers to then find new customers with similar traits via Facebook ad campaigns, LinkedIn ads, email campaigns, etc.
It’s also helpful to apply the same 80/20 analytics to your content. Do you know which 20% of your Facebook posts, tweets, emails, promotions, homepage content, sponsored content, etc. accounts for 80% of user engagement, click-thrus, trial signups and sales?
5. How ethical and transparent is your company’s data collection?
While big data in itself is ethically neutral, the collection and use of big data is not. Unethical collection and use, and the poor safeguarding of user data by companies has been making news a lot lately. This has resulted in millions of people worldwide becoming suspicious of companies that collect and use their data. Many businesses, included highly reputable ones, still continue to collect massive amounts of user data without properly alerting users to the data collection.
At Umbel, we believe deeply in the ethical and transparent collection and use of customer data. Big data is truly effective only when it surprises and delights a customer, not when it creeps them out and makes them suspicious of how you know intimate, personal details.
Since the NSA scandal broke, consumers have become acutely aware of how their digital footprints are tracked, monitored and monetized, often at no reciprocal benefit to them. In recent years, many companies including Facebook, Target, OKCupid and Verizon were called out for unethical data use, and we expect there to be a lot more in the months and years to come. As a marketer working to connect with your customers directly on multiple platforms, it is up to you to make transparency and ethical data collection a priority.
Contact us for a demo to see how our Digital Genome technology can be the answer to democratizing your data-driven marketing efforts.