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.