By Sally Taylor-Shoff
Marketing is evolving with the advent of social networking, mobile computing, the cloud and Big Data. It is now possible to precisely target a message to place, time and context. With incredible analytics, we can start to derive customer insight in real time and anticipate future consumer behavior on a massive scale. This confluence of innovations is producing what we’re calling, with a nod to Big Data, Big Marketing.
The rise of Big Marketing is enabling marketers to:
- Know their customers better.
Marketers can now develop a more complete picture of their customers than ever before. With time, what is knowable will only get richer and more nuanced. Big Marketing campaigns will be able to be targeted to smaller and smaller pockets of consumers.
- Enhance the customer experience.
Forrester reported last year that 90 percent of executives at consumer-focused companies say customer experience is important, 80 percent see it as a differentiator, but less than half of these companies actually have programs in place that leverage data to accomplish it. At the same time, marketers need to counter the consumer mindset. While some consumers may look forward to tailored offers, the vast majority say they get little or no benefit from the information shared in loyalty programs. Big Marketing promises to create true customer intimacy (the heart of loyalty).
- Cut through the clutter to reach customers.
Too much information can feel like no information at all. By delivering a well-targeted offer at the right time and place, marketers will be able to cut through the clutter, truly engage with their customers, and not only provide offers, but address questions and concerns.
- Build trust, get data.
One in four consumers says that they will share their personal information with a trusted brand online; and this number is likely to rise as consumers see more value in the personalized treatment they receive.
- Link online and offline worlds.
As Big Marketing matures, marketers will be able to add new capabilities like social sentiment analysis, linking people who already like a brand online with direct marketing and in store promotions.
- Build, design and package better products.
Marketers will be able to ensure product development, branding and design reflect what will sell in the marketplace – what customers really want.
- Benefit the bottom line.
The key is to make the best decisions, balancing the trades-offs between customer wants and business needs. Marketing metrics need to be tied back to the bottom line. For example, look at the cannibalization that many retailers have experienced on deal sites. The deal sites are supposed to bring in new customers who wouldn't have purchased something otherwise. However, the margins are very low at best on those new customers that are acquired - and sometimes existing customers take advantage of a deal when they otherwise would have been willing to pay full retail price. Just because an offer is appealing to a customer, doesn’t mean it is good for the bottom line — and vice versa.
As marketers say, “Go big or go home.” Over the next several years, we will witness marketing going big, very big. The difference this time around is that Big Marketing will be tied and measured against business objectives and the bottom line, while putting the customer first. For the first time, we will be able to derive customer insight in real time and turn it into individualized actions that generate interest and true engagement. That’s big news.