It’s hard to escape big data. Every time you go online, use a smartphone, post to social media, or a wide array of other activities, you’re generating data. In fact, the amount of data created globally is expected to increase to 163 zettabytes by 2025 – a ten-fold increase from 2016. This surge in data that’s being generated makes it all the more important for companies to utilize this data to remain competitive. But how do you harness big data for growing your business?
What is Big Data and why is it important?
Nearly everything we do in our day-to-day lives leaves a digital trail. Big data is the collection of all of this digital information in complex datasets; it can be analyzed to identify trends and applied to improve services. Big data has permeated professional sectors from business and tech to agriculture and health – and for good reason. When used effectively, big data can help companies better target customers, identify relationships between clients and their needs, and foster more strategic decision-making. Essentially, big data allows companies to know their customers in order to improve their marketing strategies and the customer experience.
Knowing your current and future customers
Big data provides crucial insight into your customers, including demographics, geographic location, and how they interact with your company in real-time. Through analysis of this data, you can develop profiles for your customers to better define your audience and their interests. Perhaps most importantly, data provide the opportunity for you to learn more about your customers’ attitudes and behaviors in order to predict behavior patterns and better target your customers.
In addition to gaining valuable insights into your current customers to continue meeting their needs, big data also allows you to profile future customers. Using data to identify characteristics of current valuable customers; applying predictive marketing; and using data from such sources as website analytics and social media metrics, among others, will produce further data that lends to developing new target customers.
Targeting Your Customers
Knowing who your current and future customers are allows you to develop more personalized marketing campaigns to target customers, a strategy that is central to the account-based marketing (ABM) approach. ABM applies a focused, personalized marketing strategy with messaging that is tailored to the customers’ specific needs and traits as gleaned through data analysis. Yielding higher engagement with target customers due to this personalized approach, ABM offers a higher return on investment than other B2B marketing strategies.
Improving the customer experience
Hand-in-hand with knowing and targeting your customers is then using that knowledge to improve the customer experience. Big data allows you to gather real-time information about your customers’ behavior, preferences, and product reactions to better meet their needs. Such information allows you to identify patterns and improve what you offer customers (e.g., Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify’s personal suggestions based on their users’ shopping/viewing/listening history). Similarly, data can show you what’s not working for your customers. If data reveal that customers aren’t using a certain service or product, you can use that information to adjust your targeting strategy.
Improving the customer experience isn’t all about what’s happening between customers and your company. Use data to gain a pulse on what your competitors are doing and where they’re finding success. Anything from tweets to reports can hold important insight into what your customers are looking for and help you provide the experience that will keep them coming back.
Big data holds significant potential for expanding your company by enabling you to more strategically target your customer base and improve their experience interacting with your company. However, simply gathering the data isn’t enough. You must be proactive in analyzing your data for trends and patterns and applying these insights to target customers. Big data provides a steady stream of data points; it’s up to you to commit to using them.