“We must move from numbers keeping score to numbers that drive better actions.”
Data forms an important part of any Digital Marketing strategy. The data we are analysing and extracting is evolving at a brisk pace. This brings us to “Big Data” which refers to huge data sets that are being generated each and every day. This data can analysed using computational techniques and reveal certain trends and patterns in the consumer behaviour.
Big data is evolving and revolutionising the way businesses assess customer behaviour and that is something which will continue in future. But the question to be answered and discussed is to what extent will big data have an impact on Digital Marketing and its future strategies?
The amount of data marketers have is about to explode, especially since smartphone penetration has increased significantly over the past few years. According to an IBM report, 90% of the data was created in past 2 years and it will continue grow exponentially in time to come as people use more and more connected devices in their daily lives.
According to a Gartner report, there are 5.5 million IOT devices which are connected on a daily basis. Consumers will use multiple devices during their journey of selecting, evaluating and purchasing a product. It will involve lot of browsing, searching and comparing across various websites and platforms. In the end, user will end up generating significant amount of useful data for the companies and its marketers to assess and analyse. Now connected homes, including interactive speakers like Google Home, etc. are also gaining some traction in the global market. This further increases the chances of generating more content and getting to know customer better.
When people start using internet frequently for even their simplest of needs, we start getting small and useful data points. For example, time duration between replacing a car, how much is purchase cycle time, starting from thought of buying to final purchase. So with all this data under our reach, we can identify various touch points and moments that lead customer to make the purchase, or atleast gave him the trigger to think of the purchase. We can observe and see what all product features customer find most valuable, which deal or offer is he most lured by and where is he spending most of the time online.
Not only marketers will have access to this abundance of data. Even customers now have more choices to choose from and compare all the alternatives against each other and make wise choices. Customers can chose which offers or deals he wants, which products is he interested in and what sort of marketing mailers and ads he wants to see. This helps both companies and its customers to effectively reach each other. For example, a customer would be interested in future line of products and would want to be alerted when it is launched or there is a price drop. It is a great way of following brands and its products and staying connected for a company and its customers.
Always Connected Consumers
One more thing that is worth noting is that we are not loaded with just customer data, these customers are also connected to each other at all times. This can be both positive and negative trend for a digital marketer. For example, a fantastic ad might go viral in a day which is great for the brand, but on the other hand, a bad news about a company could also spread like wild fire which at times becomes untamable. Apart of being connected to each other, they are also connected online. He can choose when, which and where he needs to read a particular blog or an article. Big Data gives us that information which helps marketers to figure out points where they should touch base with prospective client depending on how user interacts with online stores and devices he spends most of his time on.
This also presents a new challenge for digital marketing manager of a company. Rather than assuming that customer will have a glance on your ad when he is at home or during lunch break, he might now read it or watch it at any time of the day from any location. This means companies need to find better and effective ways of engaging customers and ensure that they are free from the distractions and willing to receive marketing messages.
Companies and brands are using the location of potential customers and hence making great use of big data. Power of such targeting marketing is phenomenal and marketers have been using it to great extent. But having said that, there are still lot avenues left to be explored which can revolutionise the way mobile devices are being used in digital marketing. Some might argue regarding privacy infringement of the customer, but if someone has allowed his location to be detected then he might as well be willing to be the potential target. Considering how Uber has built a huge business model by understanding basic customer need and leveraging the location tracking mechanism of mobile devices, there’s lot of potential for businesses to use big data effectively and market it digitally with utmost precision and accuracy.
Big Data, Digital Marketing and E-Commerce
As traditional marketing continues to be replaced by digital, the way we collect and utilise this level of information and data will evolve. Digital Marketing should now be making most of the big data and using it give to personalised online experiences to its perspective customers which will assist them in making informed purchases online.
With the continued rise in IOT, mobile devices and demand of customised and personalised experiences from consumers, it brings in various variables and increases the complexity in the game of marketing. However, ultimately it provides a much improved and better end to end online experience for the people and allows brand and marketers to deliver these experiences in a cost effective manner.
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