We know relationships are key to successful marketing. However, we no longer get to build that relationship face-to-face. Big data offers the opportunity to analyze a large group of customers or potential customers as unique individuals, thus allowing a marketer to tailor the purchasing experience to the individual.
Big data is information from myriad sources that needs to be combined or merged in order to be informative and actionable. For instance, a database of consumer wealth could be merged with a database of pet owners, allowing a marketer to target high-end pet products to the proper audience.
Big data takes this concept and expands it to not-so-obvious relationships. Knowing your prospects’ and customers’ likes, dislikes, buying and donating behaviors, income and relationships offers marketers the ability to make messages or product relevant to customers.
Harnessing the power
Understanding the concept of big data is a good first step, but given the volume of information available, and the barriers to accessing and processing, how can marketing professionals use this to create relevant content? To effectively leverage big data, a marketer must do the following:
• Capture, assimilate, transform and normalize information.
• Analyze and report findings.
• Understand what the information can reveal.
• Test the findings.
These actions and activities would require more resources than most small to midsize businesses have at hand. For those businesses to leverage big data without investing inordinate resources on data collection, assimilation and analysis, they need the right partner.
Picking the right partner
When shopping for a partner, consider its experience collecting and normalizing data. You want a partner that routinely works with data sets of all types and sizes.
Your potential partner should have the market understanding to work with you to select the data you need to append, and to customize a data solution for your needs. Too much data can be as bad as not enough.
It’s also important that your partner can add value. Data is the foundation for knowledge and insight, but you need a partner with a robust analytics understanding that can add value to your data with ratings and scores, predictive modeling, clustering analysis, and other techniques. Analysis is where the true value of data is derived.
Your partner must also be able to work with your data. Most of your valuable data resides in your own customer relationship management system. By combining the data you have with additional data sets, you can extract the most value.
Having a partner that can work with both, and that understands your business needs and challenges, will reap the best results.
If you have properly analyzed data, knowledge and understanding, that’s great, but your partner must work closely with you to strategically and systematically qualify the findings through careful testing of your marketing campaigns. This final refinement of the process makes all the difference in generating relevant messaging to your market.