Article

Liz Eden
Liz Eden 1 August 2016

Help! There's Too Much Data

Everyone is trading in the currency of data and information.  Data is inescapable; there’s big data, meta data, customer data, transactional data.  The list is endless.

Marketers comprehend that data is the lifeblood for campaigns and segmentation but the new issue seems to be what data should they be using.  There are so many options in the market to choose from that deconstructing what you need is almost impossible; should you be doing ad hoc analysis and segmentation or using profiling tools to manage the work?  Should you be supplementing your customer data with 3rd party information?  If you’re asking yourself what sources are the best, examine your customers, look for the strengths and weaknesses in your data and enrich both these data sets.  Here are the top 3 easiest changes you can make to get more from your data:

  1. Start listening to your customers - Social Listening

Sometimes we’re faced with Excel spread sheets with algorithms that have stood the test of time and data is stored so securely in a Data Warehouse that no one knows where it is or how to get it out.  When it is easier to ignore the data in your organisation that it is to use it, it’s time to be honest, pull those britches up and face the music.  The irrelevancy argument gets thrown about a lot with Kodak being cited as a major player that just didn’t move with the times.  They didn’t want to see market trends moving in favour of digital photography, which they ironically invented.  Kodak ignored the consumer shift in order to maximise profits with their film business.  It is not new that consumers hold the power.  The Global Financial Crisis certainly helped shift the balance of power from corporates to their customers but your consumers have been telling you what they want for ages.  It’s how successful businesses made more money that less successful businesses; customers bought their product.  It’s just now customer’s voices have a platform.  Now social media and reviews can make or break businesses so consumers are telling brands what they want, how they want it and at what price point.  How you make sense of this data is imperative to success; success for the bottom line but also for marketing campaigns and for the brand’s reputation.  You can also use social listening to gain a competitive advantage by understanding where your competitors are beating you and where they are falling short and using this information to better the customer experience.

  1. Use your customer data to personalise interactions

Business’ own customer data is the richest source of data you have.  If you’re a bank or insurer, you know almost everything about a person, if you are in retail, you know their spend with you, their gender and what interests them on your site.  Companies blindly collect information but the major problem is it always seems to be stored in the abyss.  However, there are ways around this … sometimes.  If you have a CRM and/or a marketing automation platform, you have basic contact information, inferred behaviour and their past transactions.  Sometimes you may just have one of these items; use it.  It is criminal how many emails that are sent without a basic filter by gender.  As a customer, not a marketer, you know how irritating it is.  We’re in a market where the inbox is prime real estate and most brands are sending by numbers and not be relevancy.  You can use basic tools to segment on gender and, where you haven’t collected titles, ask the customer in the email so you can segment the content for them next time.

  1. Consider using property data to supplement your customer data

Segmentation is powerful and easily done.  We segment ourselves beautifully; we’re old or young, rich or poor, married or single.  Companies hold all the relevant data to segment their customers or create buyer personas.  Having 4-6 groups of people, who are the make-up of your customer base will help with retention and acquisition strategies.  The next step is normally to look at segmentation tools that use geo-demographic information to thin slice people.  This is a valuable and excellent exercise but it is definitely worth considering using property information either as a stand-alone data set or as part of a segmentation model.  Property data tells you an enormous amount of information about people, which helps you deduce what their next requirement would be.  This makes you hyper-relevant to your consumers.  If you can understand their location, you can personalise the content to show branch-specific offers.  If you understand the tenure, you can predict your consumer’s next requirement; re-financing or perhaps even as straight-forward as new home offers from your brand.  The lifetime value of customers is intrinsically linked to their home; First Home Buyers represent a great chance to on-board customers and create loyalty to the brand, people who are extending their current home or doing DIY have probably had a life-stage change driving this.

Thinking about what data you need to enrich your communications and offers is paramount to succeeding in a market where data is the only currency that matters.  There’s so much data in the atmosphere that creating a strategy around what data will make a difference to the business is more important than following the norm.  You may not need segmentation tools, you may have buyer personas that work and everyone in your business understands but those strengths can be strengthened and the gaps in knowledge can be enriched.  Data shouldn’t be insurmountable and implementing 2 or 3 minor changes easily will make a huge difference.  These small changes also mean you are unlikely to move from personalised and relevant to downright creepy.  Customers appreciate brands trying and they’re shouting out what they think from the rooftops.  Start listening.

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