In 2014, every minute, Facebook users shared nearly 2.5 million pieces of content, Twitter users tweeted nearly 300,000 times, and Instagram users posted nearly 220,000 new photos. Each minute of the year. So maybe you can begin to imagine the vast amount of data we are currently producing. It is almost too much to understand how big "Big Data" really is. Maybe because of this overwhelming scope, many marketers are only now waking up to the importance of this data and what it means to their brand and business.
Recognizing what data is valuable is only the first step in the process of data-driven marketing innovation. After we are in a position to collect such vast amounts of data, we need to make sense of it all. We need to understand what it means to individual customer interactions and to our business generally. Once we have those two steps in place, then we can start to apply it in innovative ways to improve customer experiences, build loyalty, and drive sales.
Enhancing customer experiences with data
Data should be at the heart of every customer experience. Every time a customer interacts with your brand whether online or off, we can use data to enhance that experience. For example, with basic loyalty card data, a business can know what items customers are buying, which store they are buying from, and the days and times they buy. A savvy marketer can use this data to make some simple improvements right away, like offering customized discounts based on items purchased and location. This data can even help our business maintain inventory of popular goods during peak shopping times.
Starbucks’ great idea
The data collected from loyalty cards can also help drive improvements wanted by your customers. Let the customers themselves vote for what’s important to them. Starbucks has taken this idea and run with it to create Mystarbucksidea.com. Customers are able to share, discuss, and vote on the ideas and improvements that are most important to them and how they interact with Starbucks. This innovative idea meshes data from social media, loyalty cards, and other sources, to drive improvements that Starbucks’ customers will always be happy with.
Data drives sales for Burberry
Another example of a great brand that has embraced digital and data is Burberry. Burberry is able to keep track of what their customers are buying all across the globe. This way when that customer returns to a Burberry store even half way across the world, the customer service can always be spot on. Staff are able to serve that customer based on their own individual style and interests, all from past purchases online or off. Burberry is also able to make more educated predictions on what the customer will be interested in next and market accordingly.
For a more general example, consider a person purchasing a digital camera. Based on that single piece of information, you can easily see that they will need a memory card and possibly a carrying case or bag specific to their camera. A person buying a higher-end digital camera could be interested in different lenses or faster and higher-capacity memory cards. We are able to market the products specific to the customer’s needs if we analyze the data we collect.
Social and mobile put data into overdrive
Data tied with mobile opens even more doors. Geolocation and the use of mobile beacons give you even more marketing power. As your customers walk by or near your store, you have the ability to give them a special offer for that area or simply ask to come by and see the new inventory.
Data tracking paired with social media helps you keep track of positive and negative experiences your customers are having. Tracking certain key words will help you solve problems and reward your brand advocates.
Data and its uses are growing at exponential rates and will continue to do so as we create new innovative ways our customers can interact with us. The more data we are able to collect and understand the more doors it will open to marketers to better serve our customers and create stronger and longer-lasting relationships.