Big Data is transforming operations across the spectrum of industries and functions, including logistics, manufacturing, accounting, and even legal services.  One key area often identified is marketing, specifically data-driven marketing.  By tracking and analyzing customer interactions, the theory goes, a marketer can provide a higher level of relevance in marketing, including social media, email, real-time messaging, and mobile apps.  While Big Data is described in many ways (unstructured, real-time, etc.), the key for marketers is to make sure there is a plan and tools to utilize Big Data to meet marketing objectives.  For these purposes, Big Data will be described broadly, in terms of customer interactions regardless of channel.  There are four factors that brands must assess to get the most of out their Big Data for CRM:

  1. Can you get access to the data you need?  Do your email / mobile / web / social agency and providers have methods of accessing engagement and interaction data?  This data, in its structured or unstructured form, is where the “real time” action is.  The raw data needs to be linked and actioned from each channel and across channels.  If you do not have the tools to ingest this data, you will not be successful in using “Big Data”, and your first step is to find partners and tools that give you this access

  2. Do you know who your customers are?  It’s one thing to know that someone liked your Facebook post, but it’s something deeper to know that she is a loyal customer.  Having the ability to connect the dots is important – it’s what brings Big Data into customer relationships.  A website visitor being a customer you haven’t seen for a while in your stores? Great opportunity to communicate that you miss them right then and there!

  3. Do you know what you would say?  Is your marketing team equipped to generate personalized, customized messaging across multiple channels based on the combination of factors (transactions, demos, type of interactions, etc.) for a customer?  For instance, which interactions might generate an action in a different channel?  Browsing for a product on your website may trigger a DM piece or an email for the product, for example.  To execute at this level, an organization must have a culture of testing, and the ability to mix channels in customer communications.

  4. Can you execute?  Are your channel partners able to manage 500 triggers flowing through their systems?  Can your email provider execute dynamic content?  This is critical to executing personalized messaging at scale, which is where the power of Big Data comes to life.  A system that can observe an interaction (purchase, email click, website visit, etc.), identify who the individual is, define the right messaging, and execute, sometimes in real time, is fully impacting customer relationships with Big Data. If you are looking at how Big Data fits into your marketing organization, these four areas will be important to evaluate, to see how ready you are.  This also allows you to plan resources, suppliers, and marketing expenditures wisely where they will have the biggest impact.

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