A business succeeds by making the right decisions and acting upon them. The right decisions are created as a result of having good information on hand. When it comes to having information, you can’t get any more thorough than Big Data. The sheer volume and thoroughness of Big Data makes it a prime tool in mapping out a strong overall business strategy.
Why? Because while traditional market research will never truly go away, Big Data’s information is characterized by a greater depth and scope than the old school methods, information which is available in real-time and can guide in decision making. Most businesses are looking for data to use for making those decisions in the areas of risk management, research and development, improving customer targeting, analyzing social behavior, and understanding customer needs.
Where does this data come from? Places like:
Thanks to Big Data, a business can get a better idea as to who opens their e-mails and in turn visits the links embedded in the message. By having those figures on hand, a business is able to target their e-mail campaigns towards the demographic groups that are more likely to respond positively to the mailing. Conversely, this information also helps a company to avoid time-wasting promotions and attempts to reach out to people who aren’t interested, due to factors such as age, gender, and location. Check out the article “Big Data Management With Ad Targeting And Audience Measurement” for some insights into targeting ads to your audience.
The amount of detail that Big Data can offer for customer profiles is staggering. It’s not just the customer’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address; no, now these profiles can include details such as search histories, websites visited, and purchases made. It’s a lot of information for a lot of customers, but with the proper Big Data analytics tools, the data can be made manageable.
When it comes to getting information about customers, it doesn’t get more personal or real-time than social media. By gathering data from the vast number of social media networks out there, you can identify your customers, the things they want, how they want to be approached, and what it takes to have them come back. Furthermore, if you launch marketing campaigns through social media, you’ll get a very fast and accurate idea as to its reception and effectiveness.
Thanks to GPS technology and apps like TripAdvisor, GeoCha, and Find My Friends, a company can get a better understanding of when potential customers travel and where they go. This kind of information is instrumental in determining, for example, the operating hours that a multiple location business or franchise should adopt. If the store at Location A experiences a dramatic drop-off in visits after 8 pm while the branch at Location B stays busy until 10 pm, it’s clear indication that the first site can be closed earlier, and resources (such as extra staff) diverted to the second location instead.
Big Data also enables customer feedback to be more comprehensive and easily accessed. That feedback could manifest itself via e-mail comments, Tweets, online comments on sites such as Yelp, and discussion groups on various social media platforms and all of it can help create a more favorable experience for the customers. Perhaps customers are complaining about how your stores are always running out of a particular product, or maybe they find it difficult to find anything because of the way things are laid out. These are the sort of things a business needs to know, so that tweaks and corrections can be made.
Not only does reacting to feedback like this make for a more favorable shopping environment, the fact that you’re listening to the voice of the people carries a lot of goodwill with it. You could conceivably take a scathing rant about your business and switch it to a fanatically loyal customer.
However, in order to do this, a company needs to have access to Big Data as well as the means of processing it into an actionable form, whether that’s by employing something like Hadoop or contracting another company to process the information for you.
Knowledge Is Power
The above cases are just some of the ways that Big Data can help a business develop better insights. Having access to useful, thorough information is the key to success for any business in the twenty-first century.