The rapid emergence of new payment methods, such as mobile wallets, and the ever-increasing rise in social media usage has led to a veritable data explosion. As a result, businesses everywhere are either embracing or being forced to face up to the Big Data challenge. Rather than relying on gut-instinct and outdated metrics, savvy business leaders are now turning to the insight generated by the analysis of behavioural data to enable them to make informed business decisions.
Big Data is more than the latest buzzword; it is, however, also nothing new. Whether it’s customer data, transactional data, local market data or communications data, every company has at least one data source at its fingertips. The Big Data trick is gleaning insight from the data madness; and prioritising data strategies to businesses solve their biggest issues and opportunities.
Long term customer engagement
As the number of data sources increase, the value that businesses place on them is growing. This has meant that companies are now under pressure to better understand, engage with and respond to their customers.
The good news is that the information is readily available. The bad news is that although the opportunities for harnessing this data are pretty much infinite, analysing that data and using it to drive profit, is a complex issue. This is particularly apparent when following a customer through the maze that is their purchasing journey. Just knowing what a customer bought and when, whether a product or service, is no longer enough; businesses need to understand long term consumer behaviour and what customers are doing once they’ve left the shop doors or after they’ve logged off.
But where to start?
Quickly collecting, interpreting and acting effectively on customer data can be a real differentiator in terms of developing positive customer relationships and engagement, as well as driving your business forward.
Although businesses think that Big Data can only bring a long term return to the business, in fact the opposite is true. It is certainly possible to use it to deliver a quick return for businesses. The mistake that many companies make is trying to bring all of it together, all at once. What they should be doing is taking the time to understand what their version of Big Data should look like for their particular business, pick one area of focus and focus energy and resources into delivering against it.
Short term rewards reap long term gain
Although true customer loyalty is about long term retention and engagement, in today’s challenging economic environment retailers need to act fast to entice new customers and win back the lapsed. Customers are less and less likely to wait around for their reward; they want instant recognition and gratification. The trick for retailers is to deliver this loyalty kick without devaluing their brand offering. We all know of high profile retailers that are all about discounts and vouchers; savvy customers will rarely buy from them at full price when you can search online for a 20% off code.
Here’s a 6-point plan for getting started:
- Be clear on your business objectives, and those of your customers
- Understand what data you have right now (and what you don’t)
- Align points one & two and then create your own Big Data plan
- This should NOT be a three year, all-singing all-dancing plan; plan in detail for the first 12 month, then in high level for years two and three
- Only include actions that can be tested and measured – so you can learn and develop proof points
- Be committed to your data; if you’re in it for the long haul so will be your customers
To data infinity and beyond
In the fast-moving world of Big Data, businesses need to make sure their business objectives match the current needs of their customers. The future is about intelligent customer engagement. It’s about marketing to and engaging with the individual. To achieve that, companies need to know what customers think, and understand what they do and why. In today’s challenging and competitive economic climate, businesses must reassess whose views matter. Their employees, partners and customers could just be the best people to tell them how to make it a success. Big Data has been around for some time as an idea; it’s now time for businesses to turn it into action.