As consumers continuously share locations, hobbies and opinions across social networks, they anticipate more personal and relevant experiences from marketers. This onslaught of "big data" has shifted marketing from a one-way communication channel that relays carefully crafted messages to passive consumers, to an industry dependent on customer insights to build engaging interactions and authentic relationships.
78% of marketers feel the pressure to become more data-driven; however, only 33% are consistently and strategically leveraging consumer data in their marketing efforts (Teradata). Marketers who want to stand the test of time must start harnessing data to drive real-time marketing strategies and influential consumer connections. Here are three ways successful marketers are taking charge in today's data-driven economy.
1. Take data into your own hands.
Traditionally, marketers relied on IT to help store and access data, and data analysts to help mine, synthesize, and convert huge datasets into actionable insights. As more businesses recognize the need to tie consumer data into their marketing strategies, marketers are trading in restrictive IT infrastructure for modern dynamic databases equipped to handle large, varied datasets. Elastic, centralized cloud storage databases that integrate with user-friendly marketing dashboards empower marketers to quickly access insights and adapt messaging to consumers' real-time evolving wants and needs.
How to get started: Identify a data management system with the ability to capture both structured (locations, e-mails, etc.) and unstructured (favorite music, hobbies, etc.) data. Be sure to select a system that stores information via an intuitive, web-based dashboard, and exports data directly to your favorite third-party platforms for e-mail marketing, CRM and more.
2. Improve data collection transparency.
As consumers share more personal data, they are becoming increasingly concerned about data privacy. In 2006, consumers cited "quality products and services" as their standard of trust; by 2010, 83% named "transparent and honest practices" as the most important element of brand trust (AdAge, 2012). This means that no matter how wonderful data can make a user experience, the way that data is collected is key in maintaining healthy consumer relationships. Smart marketers have become more transparent in their data collection processes, letting consumers know up front what data they are gathering and how it will be used.
How to get started: Build features like Social Login - which explicitly requests permission to access specific user data upon logging in with existing social identities - into your registration processes.
3. Streamline cross-channel strategies.
With the rise of digital, mobile and social technologies, consumers are connecting with brands and creating valuable data across a variety of touch points. However, only 18% of marketers routinely have a single view of customers across channels (Teradata). Marketers must streamline goals and strategies across all touch points, and track unique customer identities across channels to construct more complete, actionable consumer profiles.
How to get started: Break down silos in the marketing department by implementing a single robust database that allows you to view data and insights captured across a variety of channels as a whole.
Big data is only going to get bigger. If marketers want to survive in today's data-driven economy, they better start taking charge.