Over the last several years, marketers have heard the term BIG DATA. In fact, it was named one of the marketing trends for both 2012 and 2013. But, what exactly is BIG DATA?
According to IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily, with 90% of that data being created in the last two years. McKinsey Global Institute states that big data will become a key basis of competition. They state that, “Leaders in every sector will have to grapple with the implications of big data, not just a few data-oriented managers.” And, data is predicted to grow exponentially, moving forward, due to the rise of multimedia, social media and the internet.
So, there obviously is not a lack of data out there, which is why they termed it BIG. But, what does that mean to you and your organization? Out of all of those quintillion bytes, what portion is useful to you in your marketing efforts? Appending your mailing list with additional data on current clients can be helpful in better understanding their wants and needs. Or, consider profiling your top customers and then purchasing lists of others who share the same characteristics and demographics.
There are several ways you can help create value to your organization through the use of data:
- Collect data at all touchpoints with your prospects and customers.
- Use it frequently to unlock value. Data needs to be considered in all decision-making areas of the organization.
- Analyze it to improve the products and services that you offer.
- Segment your mailing lists so you can send out relevant offers.
- Improve your forecasting by reviewing historical data.
Most organizations are small to mid-sized and may not have the personnel on staff that can understand the data they have or how it can be used. But, big data aside, all of us can find ways to learn more about our targets, record that information (data) and use it to sell more of our products and services.
Let’s look at a marketing campaign that would use and analyze data:
- Send a direct mail piece with a personal URL.
- Use the information gathered at the personal URL site to automatically develop an ebrochure, using variable text and graphics that speak personally to your target.
- Follow up your ebrochure with a direct mail brochure featuring the same variable data text and graphics and an additional call to action based upon the data you gathered.
- Develop drip multi-channel marketing tactics to keep your target’s interest level high and pay attention to the marketing channel(s) they respond to. This is an indication of the channel(s) they most prefer. Make sure you incorporate those channels in all future touches with them.
- If they make a purchase, ensure that the next marketing campaign they are touched by, is not for that same product or service. They’ve already purchased it and expect you to know that. Move them into a campaign that will up sell or cross-sell.
This example is a simple way in which you can use data. Many of you may feel no need to conduct a personal URL campaign to gather data, as you already have tons of it. But, are you using it, or is it just sitting in a silo somewhere? If so, get it out, dust it off and put it to good use.
I think Amazon does a great job of using data to continually place products in your path that are tempting. They pay attention to the types of books, music and other products that you buy and then continually “suggest” other products, that your past purchases indicate you would find of interest. Personally, I have bought many items from Amazon, for which I never actively searched. They were “suggestions” given based upon my past purchases.
So, while you may not be as large as Amazon, or have the resources they have, you can use the data you do have to create personal and relevant marketing messages. And, then find ways to capture and use new data at every target interaction.