Big Data, 1:1 Marketing and the Evolution of “Little Data”
In some of my earlier posts, I’ve discussed how businesses can make sense out of the enormous amount of data that is being produced in these days of what I like to call “the big data boom.” And today? There’s no doubt about i, data is a big deal. Poor quality data costs businesses a lot – to the tune of about $600 billion annually and it’s reported that an estimated 80 to 90 percent of data collected in any organization is unstructured. Understandably, marketers quite often feel lost and more than a little overwhelmed at encountering the ever-growing pile of data that they are confronted with on a daily basis. But the good thing is that your ability to filter through the noise and pull out the meaningful pieces of information buried in the huge data pile is what is going to set you on the right track. And this “little data”? That’s the data that really matters.
Big data can create great opportunities for marketers to get a leg up on their competitors and gain a distinct competitive advantage in today’s dynamic marketing landscape. Alternatively, marketers who are failing to grasp the importance of and utilize big data are very likely to be paying the price for that in the not too distant future. Among the vast amount of information that big data provides, lies information that’s essential to the lifeblood of business. This includes crucial customer views, usage habits, the changing face of markets, trends that you didn’t see coming, and so much more. Sifting through this huge mass of information to collect what pertains to our business could empower us with personalized information about our customers and their needs—this is paving the way for our next big step in marketing – and I call that 1:1 or one-to-one marketing.
The importance of 1:1 marketing
1:1 marketing takes into account a consumer’s personal experience with a particular product or service and develops engagement strategies based on this. In the most simple of terms, 1:1 marketing is based on personalized interactions with consumers. While this marketing strategy requires you to study the behavior of a single consumer, it’s also a great way to fine tune the elements of your overall marketing mix by way of putting together small bits of derived data (a/k/a “little data”). This allows you to not only create the big picture, but also allows marketers to focus on the things that actually move the needle.
One-on-one marketing reveals a lot about customer behavior by giving you a view of what factors they consider before purchasing (benefits, features, price, etc.), which factors finally drive them to buy, and post-purchase evaluation. This data can, and should, be the roadmap by which marketers develop and plan sales, promotional, and marketing strategies.
How big data can fuel 1:1 marketing
Big Data enables one-on-one marketing based on real (and often real-time) consumer behaviors and interests. In addition, it can also allow you to focus directly on new niche audiences by helping you filter out existing consumer data based on behaviors and preferences. This is yet another example of the “little data” component of big data and insights that help marketers form personalized, highly relevant advertisements and promos to target individual customers for greater impact. One example of this is analyzing prospects’ keyword seraches on the Internet and creating and tailoring messages based on recent queries.
The emergence of “little data”
So we’ve talked a lot here about big data and mentioned the role that little data plays as well. Little data is more actionable, in terms of getting important bits and pieces of information quickly, without having to wade through the gargantuan mass of big data. A great example of this is what we’re seeing with mobile technology, paired with wearable technology. We can now get information in real time about sleep habits, movement, heart rate, etc., and these little bits and pieces of information allow us to make immediate decisions and/or modifications as needed. The same is true, on a broader scale, of how marketers can use little data to help drive business decisions and strategies. An example of this is an experiment by a local power company, targeting consumers in a certain geographic area and tracking their energy usage. Monthly notifications are sent, outlining individual energy usage and comparing it to neighbors in that area. This “little data” empowers consumers by making them aware of their energy usage compared to that of nearby neighbors and perhaps it also motivates them to modify their behavior as a result. What it allows the power company to track and monitor is how this little data impacts behavior and modify their marketing strategies and tactics accordingly. Small examples, but hopefully they let you see the broader possibilities.
Moving forward, smart marketers will focus increasingly on 1:1 marketing and pay as much attention to the little data that is at their fingertips as they do to the big data they are so focused on. What about you? Where are you and your company with regard to both big and little data? I’d love to hear what you’re doing and what’s working for you.
This post was written as part of the Dell Content Partners program, which provides news and analysis on technology, business and gadget-geek culture. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.
Image: Creative Commons
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