The phrase Big Data has been used so extensively and in so many ways that no one really knows what it means anymore. Companies come to us and say things like we don’t understand Big Data – it seems important, the bigger guys are apparently using it very well, and we are not sure how to get on board with this new concept.
The good news is that it is really simple and cost effective to use “Big Data”. With the rise of numerous digital channels such as social media, mobile, etc., you can now capture data on their customers such as contact information, buying behavior, location, communication preferences, and more. You can use this data to increase profits by better targeting your customers. For example, you can collect data that will give you insights such as a segment of your customers is more likely to buy from you if you contact them via email on Tuesdays. This was just a very simple example, but you get the point.
Here’s what you need to do to get started with your Big Data initiatives:
- Evaluate your current database – What information do you currently have on your customers? How current is it? What information is missing?
- Analyze your data sources – Where are you getting your data from? How many channels?
- Bridge the gap – If you do not have enough data, or don’t have access to enough sources to get data, find companies that can help you bridge this gap. No, this won’t cost you a lot (less than hiring an intern is what we hear). With the help of companies, not only will you be able to collect better data from existing sources, but also provide data from third parties (disclosure: we help companies bridge their data gap).
- Segment your customers – Now that you have a ton of data on your customers, group them into buckets that make sense for your business. For example, a realtor would segment her customers into buckets such as City Buyers, Suburban Buyers, 5-year Leads, $1 Million Plus, etc.
- Target accordingly – Create a separate marketing campaign for each customer segment (as defined above). Think about it, you would want to send your City Buyers condos that are available in the city, and send your 5-year leads information on how to decide between a condo and a house.
Once again, this does not have to break the bank, it can be done in less than what it will cost you to hire an employee.
Here’s a case study below on how granular customer level Big Data goes beyond traditional market surveys in guiding business decisions.
Big data image by Kamiphuc used with permission under Creative Commons license.