Conveying promotional information gleaned from consumer information is one of the many goals of marketing and advertising. Brands glean information obtained from data collection practices; before the advent of Big Data, marketers took advantage of every possible manner of data collection, which sometimes resulted in the incomplete or deficient analysis. Thanks to the ability to process massive amounts of information these days with new resources, like consolidate excel, promotional strategies are easier to formulate; this is the most significant impact of Big Data on the marketing process, but there are other effects to consider as well.
A 2016 study by market research firm Forrester indicates that nearly half of all major business-to-consumer (B2C) companies are using Big Data to gain insights on customer behaviour and preferences. Naturally, these insights are being leveraged to create more efficient marketing campaigns.
An example of customer insights being applied to modern marketing can be found in companies that have switched from a multichannel to omnichannel user experience. What is omnichannel marketing really about? Let’s say a Starbucks customer installs a smartphone app that lets her know the cafés where she can get a free cappuccino; the company now knows that this customer responds positively to smartphone perks, and thus the next step would be to notify her of a free snack on her birthday. In this case, the mobile app becomes the omnichannel marketing driver.
British pub keepers tend to be very good about guessing what certain patrons will order. A man who comes in a few evenings each week and orders a pint of Guinness without fail will certainly be noticed by the keeper, who will likely have the pint poured and served the next time she sees him walk through the door. The patron will certainly appreciate this predictive analytics gesture.
With Big Data analytics, marketers can predict what customers may be interested in next. Streaming music service Spotify is one of the leaders in this regard; song and playlist recommendations are constantly presented to Spotify listeners based on their behaviours and interactions with the mobile app.
Sharing Big Data With Customers
Marketers have learned that many of their customers can get pretty excited about Big Data insights. For companies such as Nike, sharing data collected by fitness bands and other smart wearable devices have proven to be very effective in terms of engagement because customers like to know more than just their own personal stats; they also enjoy seeing how they compare to others.
Getting customers fired up about data is a strategy that retail investment banking firms such as E*TRADE and Fidelity have been using for decades, but they are just now exploring its marketing potential.
One of the best marketing strategies any company can adopt is to improve processes in manners intrinsic to good customer service. An interesting case study in this regard is Delta Air Lines, a company that realized it needed to pay more attention to the way it handled lost luggage. A couple of years ago, Delta rolled out a luggage tracking system that passengers could follow from their smartphones; by doing so, travellers could alert airline personnel the moment they noticed their bags were no longer travelling along with them. Delta has been able to thoroughly reduce its misplaced luggage rates by getting passengers involved in the tracking process; as a result, the airline can now boast about its luggage handling efficiency in its marketing materials.
In the end, it can be safely said that Big Data’s impact on marketing has been mostly positive. For brands and companies, getting to know their customers better is an undeniable benefit; for customers, knowing that companies are using analytics and insights to improve processes such as customer service is comforting. Some questions remain about privacy safeguards when handling Big Data, but the overall sentiment is still positive.