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Mar 03

Leveraging Big Data to Drive Marketing and Sales

       

In: Strategy Insights

Last week we talked about big data and some crucial mistakes to avoid as you begin incorporating it in your marketing strategy. While it can be easy to get bogged down in statistics and lose sight of your campaign’s objective, big data also offers incredible potential to max out conversion rates, grow into new markets, and leverage your marketing spend where it counts. While scientific analysis of all this consumer data is still an experimental field, there are many strategies that are currently being tested and provide spectacular results. If you’re not employing at least one or all of these, now is the time to start.  

Identifying Untapped Markets

One of the most interesting developments in marketing over the last decade is the ability to know exactly to whom you are advertising. While demographic research of the past meant we knew that mostly housewives and stay-at-home moms watched soap operas during the day, our information was generalized and historically based. With big data we can stop basing our sales on broadly based, existing markets and direct them towards previously unidentified, often hyper-niche markets.

Imagine you have a user who signs up for your site. While your current target demographic may be middle-aged housewives, this new user is a young, college-educated male who is interested in coffee, anime and FPS video games. Big data gives us the power to both discover these niches, and to target campaigns that will speak to them individually. 

The Science of Behavioral Email

Most marketers agree; email is one of the most powerful tools we have at our fingertips today. Customers who sign up for your email list are already primed leads: considering a purchase, or ready to make one. In the past our answer has been to send coupons, newsletters, and updates to nudge them towards conversion. But with the onset of big data, the science of email marketing has become much more exact.

Tracking user data and behavior across your site means you can send a tailored email to everyone who watches a product video, or leaves an item in their cart. One Experian study has shown transactional emails to have 8x more clicks and opens and can produce 6x more revenue. Another study tells us that 75% of email-based revenue is generated by triggered campaigns.

Incorporating dynamic content such as personalized product recommendations is something Amazon basically invented, and has virtually perfected. As soon as you start tracking detailed user behavior on your site, you can begin sending emails that get clicked and converted instead of deleted and forgotten.  

A/B Your Way to Success

Another key tool that every marketer should be using is A/B testing. This is no longer just putting up two ads and seeing which one people like more. A/B testing in the world of big data means testing every detail of the user experience to optimize conversion. Take a recent example where Google noticed their links in Gmail were a slightly different color blue than on the Google homepage. What did Google do? Tested 40 different shades of blue to see if one particular shade led to the highest click-through rates. Just like that, Google netted $200 million in additional revenue by changing a font color. Clearly there is no detail too small to make a big difference.  

Solving Problems with Post-Mortems

So your marketing campaign wasn’t the success you’d hoped it be. But why? With big data, that question can finally be answered with certainty. With every campaign that you launch, defining objectives and setting up tracking should be first on your list. But a mistake many marketers make is not breaking down that data in a post-mortem to avoid repeating their mistakes. With the ability to know exactly which point in your sales funnel customers were lost, and which customers didn’t respond, you know exactly where you need to make changes. While campaign post-mortems aren’t a new concept by any means, big data allows us to dig deeper into the specific reasons and locations behind that failure than ever before. 

The Future of Predictive Marketing

Marketers can (and should be) using all this data to make adjustments to everything from the copy on their landing pages to the optimal times to send emails. But beyond just changing real-time metrics, marketers should be looking to the future that big data can offer. You may remember the story of the Target ad that outed a pregnant teen to her father. By utilizing data about purchasing trends, marketers can predict what a customer is going to do and when with astonishing accuracy.

When your campaign becomes this specialized and predictive, you can leverage your marketing spend where it will pay off the most without wasting valuable dollars on users who won’t convert. Considering the size and scope of big data, many analysts view computer-based predictive analysis as the future of the industry.

It seems with big data the possibilities are almost endless. And we have only begun to start asking big data questions it already knows the answer to. Through all this, one thing is clear. Marketing departments will always need great creatives, but they also now need great analytics if they’re going to thrive in today’s data-based world.

 

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About UNION

UNION is a digital marketing agency founded in 2002 and headquartered in Charlotte, NC. Considered a digital marketing leader, UNION collaborates with many of the Southeast region's top brands to achieve business objectives through strategy, creative and technology. The agency specializes in crafting digital marketing platforms, content and campaigns that deliver meaningful and measurable ROI results. Want to work with us?

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