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The future of big data

1 November, 2016

future-of-big-dataBack in 2013, Jonny wrote about how to define big data and the best methods for big data attribution.

Now it’s 2016 and the conversation has moved on.  The main issues for marketers have now turned to figuring out the best ways to effectively use the big data we have collected.

Last week, we attended an event at Friends of Ham, in Leeds, as part of Big Data Week – an international event hosted in different cities around the world, including Chicago, Kuala Lumpur, Barcelona and Leeds.

Big Data for Marketers’ featured two speakers: Katherine Pomfret, of Alscient, and Paul Featherstone, of Benenden.


Are marketers doing a good job?

Katherine began by asking a question that all marketers should be asking themselves – ‘Are we, as marketers, doing a good job?’.

So, are we doing a good job?

A large selection of marketers still aren’t putting their data to good practice – storing data on a variety of different platforms rather than one central system, reporting on a weekly or monthly basis and generally not being very efficient.

On the other hand, a small minority of marketers are putting their data to good practice, continuously finding new ways to do so. One example is Domino’s, who, a few years ago, transformed their e-commerce through effective use of data.


Staying ahead

There have been many instances where businesses had been ahead of their time in regards to big data – for example when Boots first introduced the loyalty card in 1997 as a way of rewarding people in return for their data. With nearly 90% of UK consumers now using loyalty cards regularly, the Boots Advantage Card was most definitely ahead of its time. This article looks at various different customer loyalty programmes that add value.

These larger orgacustomer-retention-vs-acquisitionnisations have now moved on from simply analysing their data to report on how they are performing, and are now attempting to analyse their data to predict the future. Staples are a great example of this – they measure the behaviour of their customers directly before they stop buying from the company, giving them the ability to predict when their current customers will stop buying from them. With this data, Staples can focus their marketing efforts on the people who look like they are about to stop buying from them – it’s cheaper to retain a customer than it is to acquire a new one.


Making the most of big data

These 5 tips on how to make the most of big data could prove effective for your business:

  1. Use free data: There are lots of different places that provide data for free – here are just a small selection.
  2. Purchase quality data: Purchasing data has gathered a bad reputation, but there are plenty of reliable companies out there who sell quality data – just make sure to do your research before buying.
  3. Invest in a CRM system: CRM systems can be expensive, but, if used correctly, can completely change a business. This article gives a short review of most of the top CRM systems out there.
  4. Get in touch with the Open Data Institute: In Leeds, the Open Data Institute, at Munro House, encourage people to innovate with big data. They regularly run events so there’s no excuse not to go down!
  5. Look at new ways to use your data: As Boots, Domino’s and Staples have done in the past, you should constantly be looking for new ways to use your data. Maybe this article could give you some inspiration?


Improving customer experience

In the ‘Big Data for Marketers’ event, Paul Featherstone went on to cover how companies are using big data to develop a better experience for consumers.

In the past few years, more people have been making profiles in ‘member areas’, due to the reward they receive from it – anything from a loyalty system to an easier customer journey. Continuously, more companies are trying to promote a better customer experience in order to keep their customers coming back. They also do this through producing fresh content, that provides real value to the customer, on a regular basis. If you are providing your customers with valuable content, they are likely to be more loyal to your brand – 86% of consumers believe loyalty is down to the likeability of a brand.

One great way of providing customers with a better experience is by promoting exclusive offers. Giving offers to members, loyal customers or even new customers can be a great tactic for improving customer loyalty. An effective way of doing this is through email marketing. Incorporate this with big data – look at the analytics of previous email marketing campaigns to find out what works best with your subscribers and tailor your campaign suitably. Here are some examples of creative email marketing campaigns for you to take inspiration from.

Over the next few years, the conversation around big data is likely to have moved on yet again. More and more companies will be learning the most effective uses of big data and some will still be finding new, innovative ways to make the most of big data.

What else could the future hold for big data?

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