LightArrow Technology Series:
Top Trends in Using Data for Marketing in 2016
Guest post from freelance contributor, Lindsey Patterson, who specializes in business technology, customer relationship management, and lead management.
Data is not just a buzzword: it is a real force that is transforming marketing. The entire day to day of marketing work has changed. Tapping into customer behavior and information about your competition is extremely valuable for your own strategic insight. It has become crucial to develop a concrete plan for collecting and analyzing any data that might be useful for marketing purposes. In this post, we will talk about some important and cutting-edge ways real companies are using data to give you some ideas about how you can take advantage of data yourself.
Collect Consumer Data
The first step is usually to start collecting as much information as possible about your customers. It is well and good to see that a particular product or promotion is doing well, but to learn from the experience, you want to know why exactly customers are biting. Come up with a creative way to learn as much about your customers as possible. You can pick up some info with Google Analytics and similar tools. Try offering a survey for a coupon. Even if you are not exactly sure what you are looking for, get the data and then devise a plan for it later. You never know what you will find once you start analyzing the results. That makes it a little hard to predict the ROI on data projects, but once you get started, your data will do the rest. Data gives you a much better insight into exactly what brings your customers in and which people are most attracted to your brand. That’s valuable for your strategy going forward, because you can tailor your approach to what you know about why customers like you. It takes some time investment to learn Hadoop tools and other analytical toolkits, but the payoff is worth it.
Collect Competitor Data
There is no reason to stop with your customers. See what kind of information you can collect about your competition as well. There are some simple examples of ways to use publicly available data about your rivals to your advantage. For example, consider insurance. Everyone wants a real-time car insurance comparison. Make it easy for them by collecting price data from your competition and display it next to your own quotes. That way, you can save them the trip to the competition’s website and you boost your chances of retaining them. Price comparisons are a simple way you can deliver a little extra value while also keeping people on your website longer. Think of some other ideas: you can try comparing products in other ways, or investigate the social media buzz and Web traffic for rival brands to see what people think. That lets you know how you can position your own brand to convert some of their customers to you.
Protect Your Data
Once you have all of this data, it is critically important that you invest in some security. Information security is emerging as a major 2016 risk. Hackers breach companies and use the data for industrial spying, identity theft, and other unscrupulous ends. Not only does this compromise your customers, it also poses a threat to your brand’s reputation. A big breach will cause customers to lose trust in the brand, so the potential fallout is huge. There are a few good ways you can protect your data. First of all, maintain rigorous security protocols. That will reduce the odds that hackers get in via phishing attacks or other forms of social engineering. To protect the data itself, it might be a good idea to store the data using cloud service. Cloud service providers have strong security of their own, and it relieves your company of the task of storing potentially large datasets. They can also add a lot of extra muscle to your analysis.
If you aren’t using data yet, then now is a good time to start. It is inexpensive to get started collecting data if you have the creativity and insight to do it. The rewards can be great, especially once a data project is underway and you have an idea of what the ROI will be. The earlier you start, the sooner you will build the experience to take on more ambitious data work.
Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or comments.
Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who specializes in business technology, customer relationship management, and lead management. She also writes about the latest social trends, specifically involving social media. Find Lindsey on Twitter: @LindseyPatter19