The best predictor of the future is the past—that’s been a mantra in business for decades. But how is your company figuring out what its past actually is, and how are you implementing that knowledge into future campaigns to increase sales and visibility? If you’re not using data-driven marketing you’re missing the boat—a boat that is largely navigated by big data collection and application. Raw data about how consumers of your product or service have behaved in the past is the difference between future success and failure.
How to Find & Use Big Data:
Finding big data by using business intelligence tools likeQlikview, Lucky Orange, analytics tools like Google
Analytics or Adobe Site Catalyst, as well as social monitoring tools like Topsy are all part of the new norm in online business. Never before has it been easier for businesses to collect data using such tools—it enables us to look at the history of social media interaction, website visibility and click-throughs, and ultimately, the buying history of specific inventories. Quite simply, big data predicts the future based on raw data about the past.
Once in hand, this important business intelligence helps personalize how we approach customers and allows us to cater to them like never before. Unlike decades past, potential clientele reveals information about what the people want based on interaction that is empirically evident.
Let’s take an example of consumer data collection from the past to make a comparison. Newsletters, surveys, and interaction with customer service representatives were key methods for collecting information from consumers about what they liked and didn’t like before the Internet age. But these methods were flawed for many reasons. Consumers have a hard time being honest during telephone surveys, most who receive newsletters via snail mail do not read them (and there’s no way to tell if they did or not) and interaction with customer service representatives is subjective and difficult to measure. The main reason for this is that consumers are human, and humans don’t like confrontation.
The anonymity of the Internet allows people to be honest when giving feedback. Furthermore, online surveys and blog comments allow interaction by way of usernames rather than actual names, and newsletters sent via email blast like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact have backend tools to quantify how many people opened a newsletter, how many people used the newsletter as a vehicle to visit a website, and how many of those who visited the website subsequently used the website to make a purchase.
In this way, big data collection puts those who use it far ahead of competitors, and lets them know which methods work and which don’t. Newsletters sent in the mail (the original junk mail) have limited ability to be analyzed. Unless people actually cut coupons with scissors and use them at a brick and mortar storefront—something much more time consuming and cumbersome than clicking on a link to an online store—makes analyzing how well that newsletter is working difficult and likely inaccurate.
Using big data to craft virtual campaigns doesn’t mean we can’t be just as imaginative as we were in the days of the mailer. By using eye-grabbing graphics and well-written content that invites readers to become consumers, campaigns are far more successful. What’s more, creating and generating email blasts and other types of online marketing campaigns is far less expensive than using mailbox and windshield flyers. By using royalty-free images and learning how to write catchy headlines and copy, we lower overhead by thousands of dollars over time.
Less expensive, easier to analyze, more effective for prediction of consumer behaviors, and faster return on investment. What’s not to love about using big data and business intelligence? Think about the bumper stickers we’ve all seen on the back of delivery trucks: How am I driving? Big data collection and implementation tells you exactly how well you’re driving.
Images Courtesy of Pros.com