In this era of Big Data, how can orga­ni­za­tions deploy the nec­es­sary capa­bil­i­ties to respond? How can inno­v­a­tive data uses be inte­grated into an organization’s core activities?

The McK­in­sey Global Institute’s (MGI) recent report, “Ten IT-enabled busi­ness trends for the decade ahead,” explores both the oppor­tu­ni­ties and the chal­lenges that accom­pany this era of tech­nol­ogy and infor­ma­tion: “The poten­tial of big data is huge, fast grow­ing, and chal­leng­ing to cap­ture. We believe lead­ers of every orga­ni­za­tion face a grow­ing imper­a­tive to har­ness big data and advanced analytics.”

Cus­tomers in today’s world are more demand­ing than ever, so orga­ni­za­tions must rise to meet their expec­ta­tions. MGI notes that this “requires invest­ment in sophis­ti­cated big-data capa­bil­i­ties that use social, loca­tion, and other data.” An audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tion, or data man­age­ment plat­form (DMP), is the answer to both the oppor­tu­ni­ties and the chal­lenges fac­ing today’s orga­ni­za­tional leaders.

To con­clude this four-part series on why you must have an audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tion, here are the final four rea­sons for your consideration:

Rea­son 7: Pre­dict the Future with Finer Accuracy

What if orga­ni­za­tions could antic­i­pate a customer’s actions before they occurred? Imag­ine the pos­si­bil­i­ties for your orga­ni­za­tion and its bot­tom line.

Quirk’s “Tam­ing Big Data” report writes about one of the key fea­tures in audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tions: pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics, or “deliv­er­ing ‘psy­chic pizza.’” This fea­ture uti­lizes key data to antic­i­pate what cus­tomers are going to do and then meets their needs before they express them. It means “ring­ing your customer’s ‘door­bell’ and say­ing, ‘Here is the pizza you were about to order!’” Iron­i­cally, by using an audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tion to man­age Big Data, orga­ni­za­tions are essen­tially tak­ing the guess­work out of guess­ing. One reader’s response to a Har­vard Busi­ness Review (HBR) arti­cle on the topic said it best: “What excites me about Big Data is that one can use it to avoid pre­dic­tion altogether.”

The CMO Coun­cil reports that 71 per­cent of mar­keters sur­veyed would like “more pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics included in their data repos­i­tory,” which would result in a more “robust and action­able cus­tomer pro­file.” Today, pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics is being used across an array of pub­lic and pri­vate indus­tries from law enforce­ment to health­care to retail. The most cutting-edge orga­ni­za­tions, or early adopters of this tech­nol­ogy, are reap­ing its benefits.

For exam­ple, Wal­mart col­lects an esti­mated 2.5 petabytes of data every hour from its cus­tomer trans­ac­tions. The role of the audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tion is to then take that real-time, unstruc­tured data and com­bine it with cus­tomers’ past his­to­ries to pro­vide action­able and effec­tive insights for Wal­mart in order to increase their bot­tom line. HBR notes that Wal­mart makes use of “sales, pric­ing, and eco­nomic data, com­bined with demo­graphic and weather data, to fine-tune mer­chan­dis­ing store by store and antic­i­pate appro­pri­ate tim­ing of store sales.”

Rea­son 8: Illu­mi­nate Blind Spots along the Path to Purchase

Today, almost every cus­tomer inter­ac­tion, from social media to email to web­site inter­ac­tions, can be tracked and col­lected. This data along the customer’s behav­ioral trail, or the path to pur­chase, if prop­erly col­lected, cleaned, and ana­lyzed can be used to illu­mi­nate “blind spots,” or unknowns/variables, in your cus­tomers’ jour­neys. Audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tions pro­vide orga­ni­za­tions with the oppor­tu­nity to be tar­geted, timely, and illu­mi­nated in their actions. Gone are the days of “shoot­ing in the dark,” try­ing to sense and feel what cus­tomers want and need. The tar­get, as never before, can now be high­lighted by data-driven insights. Accord­ing to a Har­vard Busi­ness Review Insight Cen­ter Report: “Data is now avail­able in real time to show what cus­tomers are talk­ing about in social media (via sen­ti­ment analy­sis) and what they are buy­ing. The value of pulling this data together and ana­lyz­ing it is to glean new and valu­able insights. For exam­ple, retail­ers can use pur­chase data to esti­mate a preg­nant woman’s due date and can tar­get rel­e­vant offers.”

Mon­i­tor­ing sen­ti­ment or feel­ing, also known as sen­ti­ment analy­sis, is a pow­er­ful tool in jour­ney­ing with cus­tomers along their path to pur­chase. Sen­ti­ment analy­sis is done through the analy­sis of Big Data feeds such as e-newsletters, news reports, blog posts, Face­book con­tent, tweets, web­site vis­its, and more. For exam­ple, MGI’s report, “Ten IT-enabled busi­ness trends for the decade ahead,” points out that the Arab Spring, or the 2011–2012 sociopo­lit­i­cal upris­ings in North Africa and the Mid­dle East, could have been pre­dicted through the analy­sis of “the social media chat­ter in Cairo and other cities in the region in the months prior to the upris­ings.” Good or bad, sen­ti­ment analy­sis could have pre­dicted human behav­ior, result­ing in bet­ter pre­pared­ness from gov­ern­ments, agen­cies, and organizations.

Ulti­mately, if orga­ni­za­tions can fig­ure out how cus­tomers are feel­ing, what they are talk­ing about, why they click where they click, etc., then orga­ni­za­tions can keep cus­tomers on the path that leads to their “shop­ping carts” or other desired ends.

Rea­son 9: Retain Employ­ees by Min­i­miz­ing Frustration

Imag­ine try­ing to do your job with the wrong equip­ment. Such a sce­nario, if not addressed, will result in daily frus­tra­tions lead­ing to burn out. Prop­erly equipped employ­ees are pro­duc­tive and sat­is­fied employees.

Greater employee reten­tion due to min­i­mized frus­tra­tions is among the pos­i­tive results reported by early adopters of audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tions. For exam­ple, employ­ees work­ing at a call cen­ter need to be able to under­stand the needs and chal­lenges of the cus­tomer on the line. Quirk’s Mar­ket­ing Research Media found that one finan­cial ser­vices com­pany uses an audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tion to pro­vide their staff “with flex­i­ble solu­tion spaces and talk­ing points based on cus­tomer his­tory and value and the spe­cific circumstances—there can be four answers to the same prob­lem based on the big data algo­rithm.” No one wants to come unpre­pared to a con­ver­sa­tion, espe­cially a con­ver­sa­tion with a poten­tially dis­sat­is­fied cus­tomer. The audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tion pro­vides some­thing for the employee to look at and dis­cuss. The data empow­ers the employee to feel knowl­edge­able, pre­pared, and help­ful to the cus­tomer. The use of an audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tion in this sce­nario pro­vides viable answers and solu­tions to cus­tomers’ real-time problems.

Rea­son 10: Because It’s the Smart Thing to Do

Stud­ies have found that the early adopters of audi­ence man­age­ment solu­tions have been rewarded for their risk, result­ing in greater pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity than their com­peti­tors. Addi­tion­ally, at this point in the devel­op­ment of this tech­nol­ogy, orga­ni­za­tions get the added advan­tage of its mat­u­ra­tion, those lit­tle “bugs” hav­ing been worked out on some­one else’s dime, mak­ing it a bet­ter work­ing solu­tion for your orga­ni­za­tion today.

10 Rea­sons You Must Have an Audi­ence Man­age­ment Solu­tion: Rea­sons 1–3

10 Rea­sons You Must Have an Audi­ence Man­age­ment Solu­tion: Rea­sons 4–6