While the term “Big Data” is relatively new, the act of gathering and storing large amounts of information for analysis is ages old, in fact dating back to 1953 and the Lyons Tea Company and Bakery and their computer LEO (short for Lyons Electronic Office). LEO was the first computer in the world used to manage a business and the first ever to perform an analytics function. Lyons was “excited by the possibility that LEO could produce the kinds of figures on the performance of each teashop and each product sold there that could enable the managers to make well-informed decisions.” Sound familiar?
Even as little as 25 years ago, most business data would have been in the form of sale transaction records, responses to direct mail campaigns, coupon redemption or perhaps face to face customer satisfaction surveys. This was usually stored on basic hard-drives and in filing cabinets making analysis time consuming, costly and fraught with error. In modern business, sources of data are far more varied, as the infographic below (by Kapow) illustrates.
The concept of “Big Data” gained momentum in the early 2000’s with the explosion of social media, the increased affordability of technology and the beginning of the mobile / smartphone revolution. As technology developed, consumer habits changed as did the world of business. At first it was companies such as Amazon, Dell, EBay and Staples using integrated Business Intelligence data including online customer behaviour analysis to target and re-market products and services to online shoppers. Now even the smallest of businesses have websites, social media analytics, as well as transaction data, to analyse and interpret and to inform their business decisions.
The amount of data that’s being created and stored now on a global level is almost inconceivable, and it just keeps growing. That means there’s even more potential to glean key insights from business information. So how can we make better use of the raw information that flows into business systems every day and change Big Data into Big Results?!
Define your ideal customer:
In the past, marketers frequently had to make best guesses as to the demographics of their ideal market segment, but that is no longer the case. With big data, companies can easily see exactly who is buying and tease out even more details about their customers, including things like which websites they frequent, which social media channels they use, and even which buttons they click while on a website.
Maximise Customer Engagement:
Data can provide insights into who your customers are, where they are, what they want, how often they make a purchase, when and how they prefer to be contacted, and many other important factors. Companies also can analyse how users interact with their website – or even their physical store – to improve the user experience.
Increase Customer retention:
Many retailers have implemented “loyalty card” systems that track a customer’s purchases, but these systems also can track which incentives and promotions are most effective in encouraging a customer – individual customers as well as the overall group of customers – to make another purchase.
Know your competition:
New social monitoring tools make it easy to collect and analyse data about competitors and their marketing efforts as well. The companies that use this information will have a distinct competitive advantage.
Optimise marketing performance and measure results:
With traditional advertising such as print/press media, billboards and poster campaigns, it’s difficult to track impact and return on investment directly. But big data can help companies to make optimal marketing buys across many different channels and to continuously optimise their marketing efforts through testing, measurement, and analysis.
Manage your marketing Spend:
Because big data enables companies to monitor and optimise their marketing campaigns for performance, that means they can better allocate their marketing budgets for the highest ROI.
Targeted, campaign personalisation:
Big data combined with machine learning algorithms gives marketers the opportunity to personalise their offers to individual customers in real time. Think about the “customers also bought” section of Amazon or the list of recommended movies and TV shows from Netflix. Companies can personalise what products and promotions a particular customer sees, even down to sending personalised coupons and offers to a customer’s phone when he walks into a physical location.
Analyse and refine content:
The ROI of a blog post used to be extremely difficult to measure, but now, thanks to big data analytics, marketers can easily analyse which pieces of content are most effective at moving leads through a marketing and sales funnel. Even very small businesses can afford tools to implement content scoring, which can highlight the pieces of content that are most responsible for closing sales.
Companies can conduct qualitative and quantitative market research much more quickly and inexpensively than ever before. Online survey tools such as the Cvent surveys which we at Outsource to Us design and implement, mean that focus groups and customer feedback are easy and inexpensive to implement, and data analytics make the results easier to parse and take action on. Read why we love Market Research here.
Manage your online reputation:
With big data, companies can easily monitor mentions of their brand across many different websites and social channels to find unfiltered opinions, reviews, and testimonials about their organisation and products. The savviest can also use social media to provide customer service and create a trustworthy brand presence.
Even though data and analytics will never replace the creative minds that are at work behind the best marketing campaigns, they certainly can provide those minds with incredible tools and insights that can help them perform even better.
At Outsource to Us we understand the challenges faced by business in the digital age and will work with you to integrate your business information “Big Data” into a focused marketing strategy. Contact us
Author: Nicole Hillyard
Nicole develops and implements strategies that allow clients to seamlessly integrate digital communications into their marketing strategy. She is skilled in executing campaigns across the Google Suite and developing collateral to support this execution. Her passion is to open minds through communicating big ideas on digital platforms.