In recent years, big data has become a key consideration across all major markets, impacting entire industries, reshaping business strategies and offering untold promise to those capable of harnessing its true power. The value of big data is continuing to grow exponentially and today it stands as the lifeblood for both organisations and even the wider economy at large.
The numbers are astonishing. According to The Economist, the quantity of global data is forecasted to hit 7,910 exabytes by 2015. No doubt that such a volume of information can sound overwhelming especially if it is unclear what to do with it. From a marketing perspective big data represents a great opportunity: it can provide a wealth of insight into what customers think about your product, brand and the service they received.
When used effectively, big data can help companies deliver against their customer expectations.
Traditionally, these expectations have been defined as “the perceived-value customers seek from the purchase of goods or services.” Although this is still true, in today’s increasingly connected world consumers expect also to have transparent and fulfilling relationships with a brand across multiple touch points, so brands need to find new ways of engaging with customers with less wastage and big data might be the key. By working positively with big data and analysing it efficiently, brands can listen to consumer viewpoints, consider customer feedback, and take action accordingly, better segmenting the audience and creating a more sophisticated personal relationship with their customers. Moreover, big data can help brands market and sell better products and services.
In today’s environment, marketers from all sectors are unlocking significant volumes of real-time data, monitoring consumer digital behaviour, whether it is browsing, commenting on social networks, searching or purchasing online, leaving reviews. At its most basic level, such data can act as a simple barometer to gauge customer sentiment online. Going one step further, it provides brands with the opportunity to create a data set based on valuable customer feedback. Examples of this feedback are product reviews, which are structured, verified, have quantitative and qualitative value and allow a deeper analysis. Such analysis enables brands to respond to individual customers and address issues quickly while pre-empting any potential crises. It further provides the essential insight needed to build the perfect relationship with customers, which, if used correctly, is invaluable.
Once real-time feedback has been processed and insights distilled, it is a brand’s prerogative to use this knowledge to engage in two-way conversations with consumers. This is where the capability to unlock big data is critical: customised engagement is driven by fact not fabrication, information rather than imagination.
However, big data is about more than opening the door to engaging conversation, it is about understanding the wider picture of the world in which a brand operates, it is about connecting the dots from various sources and taking action in a efficient and timely manner. It is of no coincidence after all that a non-smoking single mum from Nevada may have been more likely to receive a call from a Democrat than a Republican campaigner in the 2012 election. Nor why a London-living heavy Twitter user who posts about good coffee more than five times per month may receive an unexpected invitation for a free latte. Moreover, data can be made smarter by leveraging the insights to make great marketing collateral in addition to providing wider insight into areas that can use further development. Brands today have every opportunity to mine the wealth of data available to them for the benefit of not only the sales department, but also for the customer service teams, product developers and technical support heroes. Big data holds the key to a brand’s future success if it can effectively mine this data to enhance wider business decisions.
The potential to gain actionable insights from data is enormous and can ultimately help to drive revenues and sales for brands and retailers. Because of this, data might be really considered a fundamental lifeblood for brands and the economy at large. A bold statement perhaps, but one backed up by the very fact that the big data that companies collect is the substrate to the development of superior products, better customer engagement and ultimately greater sales and revenue for those companies and brands capable of unlocking its true potential.