To quote every “Marketing for Dummies” book, whitepaper or journal article floating about at the moment, data-driven marketing is undeniably knocking generic, mass advertising off the pedestal and into 2012 where it belongs.
Almost every retailer, especially those involved in digital (which is becoming almost every retailer) has some or even copious amounts of Big Data at their fingertips. This could be social media data, transaction history, browsing patterns or loyalty club data, however a shocking number of these same retailers are not making use of the data treasure trove that is literally sitting right in front of them. Idle and useless.
Why are these companies failing to comprehend its value and harness its power?
Because they are hiring the wrong people.
If you have hired marketers that respond to data-driven opportunities with “It’s not suited to our target audience”, “It doesn’t fit in with our budget right now”, “It’s not effective for smaller retailers” or the nonchalant, “Sure. We’ll look into it next year” – these Marketers need to be let go, immediately.
Marketers who are slow to adapt to trends are the sure anchors to the sandpit your company will call home.
Great marketers need three very important skills to thrive in their role – intelligence, intuition and innovation; meaning they must embrace change with open arms, knowing that what has worked well in the past isn’t a sure cert for the future.
Closed-mindedness doesn’t exist in any great marketing department.
What Does a Marketer Need to Be Today?
According to the findings of a New York American Marketing Association study, one of the biggest obstacles preventing marketers from using data was employees lacking the right skills or training.
To put it bluntly, today’s marketers need to be highly-competent data-nerds (for lack of a better term).
This means knowing how to integrate data across multiple commercial channels or touch points, gain insights at vast speed and knowing how and what customer data to capture, analyse and utilise.
If a CMO is weak in data management and fine-comb analytics, they must act as a project manager and recruit a suitable professional whose skills do meet this criteria, even if this means delegating to someone in IT who lives for this sort of stuff. In employing a versatile skill-set, the analytical insights succeed in anticipating a customer’s buying preferences and habits, allowing marketers to think like a customer and optimize marketing activities to drive sales.
What’s the sense in sending your regular customers high-value offers when they will buy off you regardless, or sending your lapsing customers low-value offers when they won’t bat an eyelid?
You should be spending your time, money and effort into advertising to customers who have a high probability of buying your product.
Harnessing and understanding the value of Big Data makes all this possible. Marketers can contact customers how they wish to be reached, when they’re in the right location and engage them with personalised real-time offers. Plus, with real-time feedback and performance analytics, a marketing department can make vital changes or shut down a campaign completely, saving the company a hell of a lot of money.
Many organisations are drowning in their own data.
Difficulties with Big Data include data capture, storage, sharing, analysis and visualization.
A whitepaper by Teradata rightly demonstrates that analytic tools, monitoring solutions, applications, customer relationship management systems, databases — they must all be documented as key contributors to an organization’s digital treasure trove.
The vast majority of data-driven marketing departments use automated marketing platforms to capture, store and utilise customer data. This is often achieved through a POS and website integration or an in-store data capture device such as tablet at the point of sale, whereby databases are built and valuable customer and transaction data is sent directly to the platform.
Marketers can then utilise this data and segment their database into different customer groups or set up automated campaigns with various trigger points; for example time that has elapsed since their last transaction or automatic payment reminders. Automated campaigns set up to target customers based on factors such as demographics, buying preferences, location, occupation and personal interests are also massively successful.
Many of these platforms have their own analytics reports allowing marketers to keep tabs on conversion rates, monitor what performance milestones are being missed, see where exactly a campaign is losing its effectiveness and what audience groups are and aren’t responding.
Proof it Works
A thriving example, as Teradata demonstrates, is Premier Bankcard. Premier Bankcard rely on predictive analytics and an automated platform to flag credit card holders who are most likely to default on their payments.
Customer segmentation enables them to know exactly which customers to target with personalized customer services like financial counselling and debt restructuring. This customer segmentation and scoring strategy not only helps Premier Bankcard boost customer satisfaction, but also protects its bottom line by identifying delinquent accounts before they end in disaster.
Having a generic marketing strategy seems pretty stupid all of a sudden now doesn’t it?
In a Nutshell…
Today’s marketers are charged with the task of harnessing the power of analytics and Big Data if they are to drive action by reaching the right customers, at the right time, through the right channel.
If you want to keep up with competition, drive long-term loyalty, and not squander your marketing budget on mass-advertising, take the following three actions:
Fire the closed-minded
Hire the data-nerds
Invest in some quality data-driven marketing software