Your customers expect you to understand their needs. 80% of modern consumers expect personalized experiences from their favorite brands. Despite increased budget for big data marketing initiatives, 43% of marketers feel they’re getting almost “no benefit” from their existing data assets. These two statistics illustrate a clear disconnect between what customers want, and what marketing teams are able to deliver.
The savviest marketing teams aren’t just deriving value from their internal, or first party, data assets, they’re obtaining high-quality, real-time insights from 3rd-party data vendors to develop a 360-degree view of their customers. In order to capture and retain today’s complex digital consumers, a big data-driven customer strategy is a must.
What Does a Big Data-Driven Marketing Strategy Entail?
Every time your customers swipe on a mobile device screen or post a status update to social media, they leave a trail of data on their preferences and behaviors. Each of these interactions offers the potential for your brand to gain insight into how to create personalized experiences for your customers.
By synthesizing first and third-party data insights in a data management platform (DMP), you can create a holistic view of your customer base. This allows you to understand patterns and stories that extend beyond your own touch points, and discover truths about how your customers interact with the world around them, by using these stories to create segments and understand your customers on an individual level. In this blog, we’ll discuss several of the best practices best-of-class organizations adopt when developing a marketing strategy that’s driven by big data insight.
1. Expand Your Data Collection
Transform your strategy from first-party data analysis to a program that’s focused on true cross-channel synthesis. By combining the broadest array of data sources possible, you can improve your strategic analysis and customer understanding.
2. Score Your Segments
By creating narrow segments of your existing customers, you can focus on your best clients. These are the individuals with the highest customer lifetime value (LTV), and who may be most likely to promote your brand on social media channels and other online forums. The creation of buyer persona profiles has traditionally been executed through qualitative research methods, such as focus groups. By allowing data to tell your story, you can eliminate organizational biases about what your best customers look like.
3. Focus on Customer Experience
When you have identified your best customers, it is critical to discover ways you can improve your client experience. You can discover insights on how your customers interact with brands through the inclusion of 3rd-party data. Are they mobile shoppers, or heavily-engaged app users? Tailor your engagement strategy to your client’s existing behavior patterns.
4. Get Personal
The best marketers know that big data has the potential to move your strategy from segments to true personalization. Use your big data insights to discover behavioral triggers, and tailor personalized marketing efforts to meet your client’s needs for relevant email marketing and programmatic advertising.
5. Measure and Optimize
With your programmatic advertising and email marketing metrics, your brand has the potential to move towards continual improvement cycling in your marketing program. Never stop collecting data, analyzing, and improving your efforts to deliver a best-of-class customer experience.
Are you ready to make the shift towards customer-focused, Real Time big data-driven marketing? Contact BDEX today for more information on high-quality, real-time big data assets from trusted 3rd-party sources.
The way we use data to target audiences is constantly evolving. The first phase in targeting was fairly simple in that we relied on only a few simple demographics, like age and gender, to segment consumers. Then audience groups were formed. More advanced and specific, audience groups were, and still are, based on consumers’ shared interests. The newest chapter in data targeting, utilizing real-time insights, merges information about demographics and audience groups with real-time activity. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Real-time data isn’t just information about your consumers’ spending habits in the last month. True, real-time insights let you know what your target customers are searching for the moment they shop online.
In the mid-20th century, marketers focused on only a few consumer demographics when developing marketing campaigns. While factors like age and gender were more important sixty years ago when people sourced their news and entertainment from the same place, the traditional methods for obtaining consumer data are not as relevant anymore. McKinsey’s John Forsythe demonstrates the problems associated with using only a few, superficial demographics by citing the differences between Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth’s son and her heir apparent, and Ozzy Osbourne, lead singer of heavy metal band Black Sabbath. While both men are British and the same age, a marketer obviously wouldn’t market to them the same way.
Marketing and brand expert Adam Paulisick also believes that simple demographics don’t provide enough information to properly target consumers.
“Segmenting consumers by age and gender or other demographics is inefficient at best, even for more traditional marketing campaigns because there are no hard and fast rules anymore for what a man or a women will intuitively buy (with few exceptions).”
While we might not know the “hard and fast rules” that drive what a consumer buys, we can know the next best thing: what product they are shopping for the moment they shop. Real-time data takes into account everything we used to know about consumers based on demographics and audience groups and merges it with live activity.
Keith Sayewitz, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Sales at BDEX, a market-driven exchange platform that provides users with real-time data, explains the value of real-time analytics for marketers.
“For years a company depended on simple demographics to identify a certain consumer, like ‘soccer moms.’ Then audience groups were formed, so we discovered those soccer moms were interested in fitness. But now, with real-time data, we learn which of those soccer moms are in the market for a treadmill or are switching to vegan cuisine. This information is incredibly powerful because it allows for truly advanced targeting. We know that this customer is likely to buy a treadmill because she is in the market for one at this exact moment.”
Marketers can then create specific ads for the desired consumer, increase the probability for conversion, and, therefore, create more sales. The insights provided by real-time data are essential to brands, retailers, and agencies who want to stay up-to-date on consumer activities and truly understand their customers’ needs.
BDEX, the first ever Data Exchange Platform (DXP), is currently the only source for true, real-time data. For more information about BDEX’s unique services, click here.
Image Credit: NEC Corporation of America
The importance of data to a business’s success isn’t a recent discovery. For decades, the fate of American television shows rested solely in the hands of The Nielsen Company, which still monitors citizens’ viewing habits via customer surveys and meter readings today. However, thanks to an incredible influx of information from a variety of sources, including cell phones, computers, and even sensor-equipped trains, brands have more access to analytics than ever before. Harvard Professor Gary King even referred to this stream of statistics as a “big data revolution” (Harvard Magazine). While the amount of information is impressive, King doesn’t believe the quantity is the “revolutionary” part.
“The big data revolution is that now we can do something with the data.”
But for many companies, knowing how to properly use acquired information is a major problem. When brands consider the following factors of big data, they are better equipped to reach consumers:
Timeliness of the Data
“In the rush to avoid being left behind, I also see that many companies risk becoming data rich but insight poor, says data expert and author Bernard Marr (Forbes). “They accumulate vast stores of data they have no idea what to do with, and no hope of learning anything useful from.”
One major issue with businesses storing data but not taking action is that the information goes bad quickly. Companies will keep the information hoping it will be of some use though it’s “no longer relevant, inaccurate or outdated,” says Marr. In other words, “time is of the essence.” BDEX is different from other data providers in that brands can access real-time analytics the moment consumers browse and shop online. By knowing what consumers want at a given time, businesses are better able to meet consumers’ needs.
Source of the Data
There is a common misconception that first-party data is superior to third-party data. While first-party data is owned by the company that obtained it, the data does not change as it’s transferred from party to party. That’s why data expert Kevin Tan believes companies should focus “on the quality and transparency of the data, not the party label.”
“Advertisers that choose to work with high-quality data providers can obtain third-party data that is timely and clear. Used together with first-party data, top quality third-party data enables brands to build a fuller picture of target audiences,” says Tan. (Exchange Wire)
In order to determine the quality of the information they receive, brands should also know where their data providers get their statistics. Some sources, like the US Census Bureau, may contain a broad range of data, while others, like market research surveys, may provide more specific information. By making use of data from a variety of sources, brands have the ability to assess their target audience and create better marketing campaigns.
Accuracy of the Data
You may be wondering, “How do I know what data is usable?” After all, the sheer number of data resources suggests that some of the data will either 1) not pertain to every business or 2) be incorrect. And while it does not serve your business to cater to every online consumer, know that the specificity of the information big data, especially third-party data, can provide is unparalleled. Information is collected by a variety of tools ranging from desktop cookies and e-tags to smart phone IDs.
“All this allows firms to glean what sites users have visited, what they have shopped for, what postcode they live in and so on. From this the firms can infer other personal details, such as their income, the size of their home and whether it is rented or owned.” (The Economist)
While the amount of data can be overwhelming, utilizing big data will not only help you reach your consumers but anticipate what they want next.
BDEX is the first ever Data Exchange Platform (DXP) offering real-time data in a marketplace environment. All seller and consumer information is impartially scored to ensure that data is and high-quality and accurate. To learn more about BDEX’s unique services, or to become a BDEX buyer or seller, click here.
Marketers understand that you simply can’t build audience groups on pure demographic factors. After all, Prince Charles of England and rocker Ozzy Osbourne are both British males of the same approximate age. However, it’s safe to say that a marketing message tailored for Ozzy wouldn’t necessarily convert the heir apparent, Prince Charles. Consumer preferences, motivations, and needs play a critical role in purchase decisions.
It’s clear that audience groups must be more sophisticated than demographics. Even deep demographic factors like income or family status don’t tell the full story. As Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) highlights, the sorts of audience groups that convert are rarely “created.” Instead, they’re “uncovered” through data analysis that incorporates behavioral clues from cookies, web analytics, user-generated content, and other big data sources.
Why Your Audience Groups aren’t Converting
Despite the fact that marketers understand what’s required to build audience groups, too few brands have segments that reflect reality. Information Week recently wrote about some of the “perils” of big data analysis biases, which can include:
● Selection Bias
● Inclusion of Outliers
● Overfitting and Underfitting
● Confirmation Bias
The term “data scientist” is ultimately accurate. To accurately understand patterns in reality, marketing teams must leverage enormous amounts of data to control against faulty results. If your big data audience segments are based on false positives from too-small or incomplete data sets, you could be suffering as a result. In one anonymous case study detailed by Information Week, a brand’s profit margin decreased significantly as a result of audience groups’ creation that didn’t control for bias.
Do You Trust Your Audience Analysis Methods?
Many marketers have developed some level of big data fluency. They understand some common analysis methods used to develop audience groups, such as clustering or linear analysis. Undergraduate studies of statistics has leant familiarity with concepts like sample size and statistical significance. An abundance of easy-to-use analytics tools allows marketers without extensive technology backgrounds to perform complex analyses in a point-and-click environment. However, a lack of big data resources has forced many marketing teams to rely on pre-formed audience groups from 3rd party vendors that are questionable in accuracy.
One large-scale study by HBR indicated that some 85% of product launches fail because of poor segmentation methods. Ineffective segmentation can have a significant impact on your brand’s profitability and outcomes. If you’re reliant on pre-packaged audience groups that you’ve purchased from a 3rd-party vendor, it’s likely time to refresh your segments. Join us as we review a new approach to building audience groups that convert.
1. Form Segment Hypotheses
Big data analysis for the purpose of segmentation is inherently scientific. The first step is to develop hypotheses about your segments. Based on what you know about your segment, you can develop a framework for analysis.
To avoid the risk of confirmation bias, your hypothesis should be based on known variables and goals. It could resemble the following statement:
“Individuals who are seeking a mortgage for a second home are often 30-50 years
old with an income of $100,000 or more per annum.”
A correctly-formed hypothesis serves to narrow your analysis, while still providing room to discover behavioral and motivational insights.
2. Obtain and Combine Data
By participating in BDEX’s Data Exchange Platform, marketers can gain immediate access to billions of data points in real-time. Marketers have the ability to set their own budget, and access insights on web behavior, preferences, and transaction history on consumers that match their existing contacts. Depending on your campaign goals and objectives, you can also opt to obtain contact information for additional prospects that match your goals and objectives. By connecting BDEX’s marketplace with your data management platform (DMP) tool, you can gain immediate access to fresh data insights.
Effective marketing segmentation today has little resemblance to the mass marketing messages of yesterday. By obtaining third-party insights, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of how your contacts behave. This can lead to an understanding that your buyers prefer self-guided product research, are likely to have two children, or other rich factors that reveal segmentation without bias.
By allowing big data to form your segments without bias, you can avoid the risk of inaccurate results. BDEX’s open marketplace forum allows analysis with minimal risk of bias, due to the sheer volume of available insights.
4. Launch Advertising
Once you have developed rich, up-to-date and accurate market segments, you can launch advertising to connect with your audience groups. Instead of relying on months-old segments created by a third-party vendor, your marketing team has the power to continually test, iterate, and improve your audience groups.
For more insights on the power of real-time targeting for marketing initiatives with BDEX, click here!
92% of companies are still dealing with obstacles to successful big data projects, according to global research by CA Technologies. Across industries, the adoption of big data initiatives is way up. Spending has increased, and the vast majority of companies using big data expect return on investment.
However, companies still cite a “lack of visibility into processes and information” as a primary big data pain point. Modeling customer segments accurately can be impossible for marketers who don’t understand why their customers decide to make purchases.
Many marketers applying big data to programmatic advertising or email marketing initiatives understand patterns. With sufficiently high-quality and recent insights, marketing departments can create segments and offers that reflect reality. However, experts are predicting that the next step for marketing will be the adoption of “thick data” for behavioral understanding.
What is Thick Data?
Data-driven marketing is the act of making educated guesses about human behavior, based on historical patterns and other analyses. Product development, offer creation, and email campaigns are, at best, well-informed guesswork about your customers. Thick data can represent the missing piece by explaining why humans act the way they do.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) defines thick data as a tool for developing “hypotheses” about “why people behave” in certain ways. While big data can indicate trends in behavior that allow marketers to form hypotheses, thick data can fill in the gaps and allow marketers to understand why their customers are likely to take certain actions.
While “thick data” is recently receiving a great deal of attention among big data thought leaders, it’s not a new concept. There’s little difference between “thick” data and “prescriptive analytics,” both of which represent advanced maturity in marketing big data. By shifting your focus from predictive big data to forming and testing hypotheses, marketers can better understand how their buyers will act in the future.
Where Does Thick Data Come From?
Historically, big data has been transactional, while thick data has been qualitative. For data-driven brands of years past, insights into consumer behavior were typically derived from behavioral observation, voice of the customer (VOC) or Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveying, focus groups, or other time-intensive research methods.
Today, insights into consumer behavior can come from a variety of sources. Thanks to social media, internet of things technologies and other drivers of big data, marketers can gain insight into why humans act the way they do with data sources such as:
● Online or Mobile Behavior
● User-generated social media content
● 3rd-party transactional data
Studies indicate that currently, 95% of brand research into consumer preferences is performed manually, using methods such as surveying or focus groups. However, in an era where consumers produce thousands of insights each day from mobile usage, online shopping and social media updates, the insights are easy to obtain.
How Thick Data Can Benefit Your Marketing Results
One of the most famous examples of thick data application belongs to Lego, who BIGfish reports was on the brink of financial collapse in the early 2000’s. After several failed repositioning attempts, the brand engaged in a “major qualitative research project” to understand why the “emotional needs of children” at play weren’t being met by Lego’s current offerings. After observing and analyzing countless hours of video recordings, Lego was able to successfully reposition their products and resurrect their status as an important toy brand.
While Lego’s use of thick data occurred in an age where analytics tools were far less sophisticated or widely available, the concept offers lessons to contemporary marketing teams. By applying attitudinal, social, and other preference-driven data to your marketing analyses, you can understand what your customers actually need. Yesterday’s focus groups have been replaced by the trail of qualitative insights consumers leave on their mobile devices, in apps, and at sensor beacons. For brands that are willing to listen, there’s remarkable potential for prescriptive analytics.
If your marketing goals for the year to come include a better understanding of your customers, integrating more qualitative and attitudinal big data insights can allow you to unleash the power of thick data. The BDEX marketplace allows brands to connect directly with 3rd-party data vendors, to gain real-time access to insights on why their buyers act the way they do. To learn more about BDEX’s innovative approach to real-time data exchange, click here.
Low-quality big data assets can lead to incredibly costly marketing mistakes. Research by Experian indicates that low data quality has a direct impact on revenue for 88% of modern organizations. Average losses are approximately 12% of revenue. For organizations who are shifting towards data-driven marketing and customer experiences, low-quality data can lead to costly mistakes.
How Bad is the Average Marketing Big Data?
Per eConsultancy, 22% of information on contacts, leads, and customers contains inaccuracies. Perhaps most concerning, the average organization’s quality index is headed in the wrong direction. Twelve months ago, the average inaccuracy rate was just 17%. Incorrect data can have a real impact on your team’s ability to build segments, understand behavioral triggers and preferences.
In contrast, organizations with a high degree of data accuracy are more likely to appreciate:
● Customer Satisfaction
● Informed Decision-Making
● Protection of Brand Reputation
Poor-quality or old customer data can lead to a series of costly marketing mistakes. Join us as we review some devastating errors that can be directly attributed to inaccurate customer data.
1. Low Advertising Conversions
Low conversion rates on programmatic advertising is a symptom, not an issue. Poor click-throughs and conversions can be attributed to a lack of mobile advertising, poor segmentation, irrelevant data, or other factors. However, far too many marketing teams fail to take appropriate action in response to low advertising conversions. Instead of working to improve the breadth or quality of data, they continue generating ads. Before running more ad campaigns, marketing teams should take appropriate action to ensure they can achieve better returns.
2. Inconsistent Brand Experiences
Without accurate or up-to-date data, your brand communications could send the message that you don’t know your customers. You may generate programmatic advertising for products your customers already own. You could send an email blast for baby products as their children are approaching preschool age. Marketers need to actively combat a brand experience that’s inconsistent with a customer’s needs and activities. If you miss the mark repeatedly, you’ll struggle to build customer loyalty and sales.
3. Poor Email Deliverability
The average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing at mid-sized organizations is 246%. However, organizations have the potential to significantly exceed these benchmarks with appropriate timing, segmentation, and other big data-driven activities. Email communications to outdated contact lists have the potential for a high bounce rate, or percentage of emails that are undeliverable. Email segmentations that are vastly inaccurate could also increase your risk of being pinged as spam. In the mind of a consumer, spam is simply “unsolicited bulk email.” If your messaging is irrelevant or feels too much like a mass communication, it’s likely unwelcome.
4. Mobile Neglect
Far too many big data marketing strategies are focused on desktop advertising, email receipt, and experiences. In reality, consumer behavior demands mobile marketing. As of 2015, adults now spend more time engaged with mobile devices than desktops, laptops, and other connected devices combined. There’s a good chance that, at least 50% of the time, your desktop-optimized advertising is consumed on mobile devices. This can lead to poor user experience (UX) and returns on investment.
5. Poor Verification Methodologies
All too often, major brands go viral for all the wrong reasons. Poor data verification can lead to mistakes that are embarrassing, insulting, or even hurtful to their loyal customers. OfficeMax sent coupons addressed to “Mike Seay, daughter killed in car crash.” The addendum to the customer’s name was unfortunately true. The company ultimately issued a public apology to the customer. Manual data verification processes are rarely effective in the big data age. Fortunately, using a data management platform (DMP) or another tool to perform quality checking against 3rd party data can eliminate much of the risk of similar mistakes.
If your organization’s data quality is average or below average, you’re at risk for many of these expensive marketing mistakes. By taking the appropriate internal steps to improve your quality standards, you can improve the ROI and impact of your marketing efforts.
BDEX offers high-quality, real-time big data assets from trusted 3rd party vendors to safeguard against low-return marketing investments. By downloading the right data resources directly into your DMP, you can improve the accuracy of your customer records, gain deeper insight into your buyers, and build better segments.For more information on becoming a BDEX buyer or seller, click here.
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