Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Implications of Big Data on Marketing

Can past advertising campaigns help explain what to do?

A colleague recently shared SapientNitro's "Insights 2013"; a collection of trends, discussions and case studies that center on their idea of connected thinking.   At 218 pages (and 40mb) it is a lot to digest at one time - but worth the read.  

The tome is organized around four trends:
  1. Real Time Control: New Consumer-Oriented Devices and Data
  2. Predicting Desire: Building the Infrastructure to Anticipate Consumer Needs in Real Time
  3. Continuous Experiences: How Companies are Blurring the Online and Offline World
  4. Globalization: The Global Marketer and the Rise of the Global Consumer 
All of this leaves me thinking about the implications for an organization, particularly around the use of data.   So, using some famous advertising taglines - here's what it means to marketing.
  • Think different (Apple 1998) - it is not business as usual.   Applying approaches that worked in the past will not suffice in a consumer-connected world.  We should be asking different questions and to use Cloudera's tagline "Ask bigger questions."  How are decisions made? How do we facilitate choice?
  • Don’t leave home without it. (American Express 1975)  This is an interconnected world - and not just among people, but devices as well.  The smartphone has made us first generation cyborgs; Google glasses and contact lenses are next.  The explosion in data exhaust is from sensors and events, not just from humans.  What is the context and intent surrounding the interaction?  Can we figure it out as it occurs (or even before)?  What could we do if we knew?
  • Hey, Mikey...he likes it! (Life Cereal 1972)  Testing and experimentation allows for new services/plans to be created.  Google has around 500 experiments going on at anyone time to improve their products.  What things are we testing right now?  Why didn't that idea work?       
  • We bring good things to life. (General Electric 1981) The shopping journey is often expressed as an experience.   This requires understanding what people want and how a brand could best satisfy those needs.  This turns the question on its head and inside out.  What would make our journey more interesting and useful?
  • Reach out and touch someone. (ATT 1979)  Social sharing (or just plain links) changes the dynamics of the sales process.  It isn't just us and them as direct response teaches us and it certainly isn't a linear funnel - it could be flipped, a doughnut or any other shape you can imagine.   What content are consumers consuming? Where will they go next?  Who will they rely on for information?  How does content work?
  • Where’s the beef? (Wendy's 1984) All this data requires new ways of thinking about and organizing analytics. Consider what New York City has done - they reduced ambulance response time by 1 minute by understanding how food/coffee/restrooms impacted response time.  They also reduced injuries to firefighters by 15% by predicting illegal apartment conversions thru the integration of disparate data sets. What can we learn from mash-ups?
  • Just do it (Nike 1988) You can't put the right plan in place since there are so many unknowns and changes occur at the speed of thought.  Execute - Track - Adjust will replace Plan - Execute - Track.  What will we do next that we've never done before? 
Time to hack something...

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