Once reserved for only the "big players," sophisticated solutions for merging digital and offline marketing efforts are now available to virtually all companies. The new automated systems make it easier to collect data while the explosion in smartphone usage gives marketers the opportunity to literally put their messages in the hands of their customers. However, you must have a detailed understanding of your customers, such as where and when they want to interact with you, what they need and what they insist you supply.
The era of big data has given marketers many new opportunities, and it is the driving force behind the ability to develop accurate analytics or customer personas. Ultimately, however, your success depends on your ability to manage your data efficiently.
1. Personalize Customer Experiences
Recent studies have shown that your customers expect a one-on-one interaction with you that is highly relevant to each customer. Your digital efforts must employ micro-targeting techniques to ensure that you are reaching the right audience at the right time on the right channel.
- Adopt an individualized approach to create messages that "speak" to each customer, which are highly personalized, and will help you nurture your online relationships.
2. Keep It Clean
Big data can give you powerful insights, but it needs to be "clean" before you can rely on the picture it provides.
- Make sure that your data set is large enough to provide you with the in-depth analytics you need.
- Scrub you data, but verify the information regularly by comparing multiple sources or databases.
3. Automate Wisely
Automation can allow you to reach more customers with less time and fewer resources. However, automation has the potential to erode your customer relationships if used unwisely.
- Make sure that your data is up-to-date and that duplicates have been purged.
- Refine your customer personas to ensure that you are targeting the right customers in the right manner.
4. Mobilize Your Forces
Modern consumers are people on the go. They often use multiple devices on a daily basis to connect to the Internet, and they expect you to follow them.
- Have a mobile marketing strategy in place that provides you with an integrated, cross-channel plan.
- Make sure that your website is responsive and optimized for mobile devices.
5. Empower Your Customers
Your customers are perhaps the most demanding group of the last century. They have so many marketers clamoring for their attention that they have learned to tune them out. Put the power back in the hands of your customers to make them more receptive to your message.
- Respect their wishes. If, for example, a customer notifies you that he or she prefers to receive emails from you rather than texts, make sure you comply.
- Allow your customers to choose the types and frequencies of your communications. Some customers might choose to receive daily updates from you while others might feel that weekly notifications are too frequent. Others might prefer that you only communicate with them when you have a new blog post, but others might want to know about any special promotions you have.
6. Use Analytics
One of the key benefits of big data is the ability to reduce your reliance on "hunches" or long-obsolete historical data.
- Establish meaningful metrics that are measureable, specific and timely.
- Use predictive analytics to help you develop your future strategies, campaigns and budgets.
- If necessary, hire an employee or engage the services of a consultant who has special skills in analytics and data mining.
Leveraging your big data effectively can be very rewarding, but it will likely not be accomplished without challenges. All the pieces are not going to magically fall into place overnight, so have patience. Expect a setback or two along your path, but if you persevere, you can overcome every challenge that might arise.