What you’ll be using data for by 2017
The advent of big data and the questions that surround it have become prevalent in organisations of all shapes and sizes during the last couple of years, and I believe this will drive further change going forward.
As a business development director, it’s crucial to keep an eye on developments that could disrupt marketing practices in the short to medium term in order to steer new strategies. Below are five things I believe we’ll most likely be using data for in three years’ time.
1. Content strategies driving personalised marketing. Data generated by people and technology, or the “mobilification” of the population, has changed the way many organisations interact with their customers. Businesses will need the right technology, people, processes and content in place to make sense of all that data, draw value from it and enact a relevant, personal and welcome dialogue with individuals. We see many businesses focused on kit and people with little attention given to the diverse content required to maintain personalised messages. I believe a content strategy will be vital to support personalised, real-time engagement.
This will require the recruitment of people who can implement and use technologies that support the drive for ongoing, one-to-one conversations. It will also mean greater knowledge sharing than is evident in many siloed firms today. Marketing technology will increase in popularity simply because there will be greater need to use it for creating customer dialogue. Finally, companies must ensure processes are in place that ‘cap’ communication to avoid creating content fatigue.
2. PIDM policies becoming the norm. Personal Information Data Management (PIDM) will be vital. If you don’t have a transparent policy or a stance on it, customers won’t trust you and won’t impart their data. Transparency and justification for the collection and use of data is particularly important for Generation Y, who will surrender data more easily than most, but are less likely to forgive if this data is not used to their exacting standards. I see businesses less focused on customer communicated modelling; instead they will put the power in the hands of the consumer, allowing them to name their preferred channels. Marketing needs to become more subtle in its approach as consumer power grows, but should equally ensure the information is readily available should the customer choose to look for it. For example, mobile is allowing customers to demand offers rather than simply receive offers demanding their attention.
3. Behavioural and predictive modelling on the rise. Behavioural and predictive modelling across all channels will be central to business success. Marketing is becoming ever-more accountable and companies will seek greater support to predict with greater accuracy the ROI of campaigns, whatever the channels used. Perhaps most crucial will be how to communicate with someone behaving in a particular way.
With a shortage of analysts in the market, self-learning technology, with the ability to process massive volumes of information, including unstructured data, will grow in importance. Being able to predict what customers are likely to do based on how they are behaving at a particular time, and determining the next best action in real-time particularly will be key. Businesses will need to send out information in an instance which has to contain the right message.
4. Customer Lifecycle Management coming into its own. Large enterprises will see their technology systems integrators working more in line with their agency as they try to own the customer lifecycle process and gain market edge. Because of this, I believe the big technology companies will be very quick to acquire businesses and software that manage the whole customer management lifecycle, allowing them to have the whole process – from collecting and managing data to being able to make sense of it on- and offline – under one roof. This will cut dependency on systems integrators to plug it all in.
5. The dawning of the age of the golden nugget. Everyone will be talking about the “little data”. This means finding the most valuable nuggets of information amid big data to support not just marketing but product development as well. This will promote the rise of the data analyst: those who know how to quickly ascertain what is important and what is not.
The really valuable analyst will be the one that has a good understanding of the business plus an instinct to know where to look. Consider the amount of data in-car telematics devices are expected to generate. This constantly updating record will include information such as date, time, speed, longitude, latitude, acceleration or deceleration, cumulative mileage and fuel consumption. Insurance companies, for example, could analyse the information to monitor driver performance – speed but also behaviour such as hard braking, fast acceleration, time of driving – and use that data to set premiums with hard evidence in front of them.
Daniel Telling is director of business development at Occam - a St Ives Group Company