Taming the Wild West: 7 Trends Uncovered With Big Data

  |  October 1, 2012   |  Comments

Marketers need to embrace data as a genuine revenue-driving asset to improve brand loyalty, consumer experience, and the bottom line.

Everywhere you look, big data is being hailed as the remedy to all of the challenges organizations are facing. A fellow attendee at a recent conference lamented that we are in the "Wild West days of big data," with vendors making far-fetched claims like the snake oil salesmen of days past. As a marketer, she wasn't interested in the hype. She wanted to understand how to practically use big data to better understand her customers and drive more value in her organization.

Here are a few real-world consumer behavior trends, buying patterns, and business benefits that were uncovered using the latest digital marketing management platforms to implement big data strategies:

  1. Time matters! Marketers know consumers respond differently based on when they see an ad. In financial services, marketers have found that consumers in urban areas viewing an ad for a new credit card on Tuesday are more likely to sign up on Sunday night. For financial services marketers, this consumer intelligence can help pinpoint the best times to run ads and which messages have the most impact at specific times.
  2. Location, location, location. Geographic data for an automaker showed high consumer interest in its models in the rural Midwest - an area with virtually no dealerships. This demand was surprising to the automaker, and caused them to consider new dealerships. It's also been shown that auto intenders in rural areas are quite social, and are more likely to amplify a brand's message through online channels than their urban counterparts.
  3. Convert a "browse" into a "buy"! What are the demographics and interests of consumers that browse, but don't buy your product? One automaker found that a top engaging audience was comprised of women, aged 25 to 44, with incomes of $75,000+, interested in travel. This caused the automaker to consider partnering with an airline to capitalize on this segment's interest in travel. Purveyors of big data can uncover connections to validate synergies between seemingly unrelated partners and turn a browse into a buy.
  4. Consumers are aspirational shoppers. Across a product line - from luxury to value-oriented - one retailer found that consumers browsed the higher-end lines and then purchased one tier down. Providing consumers with more choice enables brands to meet the full spectrum of demand, and not leave money on the table. This tiered approach to luxury also provides future upsell opportunities - consumers tend to indulge on luxury products from their favorite brands for special occasions.
  5. What are they doing online? Savvy marketers always ask, "What do my top customers do online?" A travel brand might change its digital strategy, or even shift timing or delivery of an upcoming travel package based on whether their top customers are most interested in news, social networking, or photo sharing. Marketers can never know their customers too well, and they can time their launches to important news, seasons, or social events.
  6. Who is your best customer? When accurately analyzed, big data can also inform audience profiles and profitability. For example, are you confident consumers that click on your ads are really your best customers? A financial services company found that consumers who most frequently clicked were often not in the target income demographic for their latest credit card product. Counting clicks is not enough. Understanding who is clicking and whether they are likely to convert is more valuable.
  7. Consumers love to shop on tablets. One financial services company ran a mobile campaign and found the great majority (more than 80 percent!) of credit card sign-ups occurred on tablets. And, some consumers began the process on a smartphone but completed on a tablet. With their larger screen size, tablets are ideally situated for consumers to complete lengthy registration or application processes. One mobile strategy does not fit all.

Big data doesn't have to be the wild frontier. But, marketers need to embrace data as a genuine revenue-driving asset to improve brand loyalty, consumer experience, and the bottom line. These seven use cases show different ways that data can inform marketing and business decisions, enabling organizations to be strategic and optimize positive results - in real time.

The latest digital marketing management platforms enable marketers to easily collect, read, and understand the data freely flowing from their campaigns, to quickly glean consumer behavior insights. These discoveries can help marketers, as well as C-suite executives, better understand their customers, market needs, and improve customer acquisition and retention - requirements to thrive in the digital age.

How are you using big data and analytics to better understand your customers and gain competitive advantage in a data-driven world?

Wild West image on home page via Shutterstock.


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Sandro Catanzaro

Sandro Catanzaro, a co-founder of DataXu, is a technologist and product visionary. He is the co-inventor of the real-time optimization algorithm at the core of the DataXu platform. Catanzaro earned two masters degrees from MIT - one from the Sloan School of Management, the other from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Before MIT, Catanzaro launched several successful businesses in his native South America, including one that was acquired by Unilever.

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