Making Sense of Big Data For Email Marketing Campaigns

Everyone is pushing “big data” on businesses of all sizes. As if its the answer we’ve all been waiting for. The thing is, big data is a bit like crude oil. We know it can do many useful things, but the trick is extracting some value from it first. Processing. Refining the data, so that you can do something with it.

KPMG did a survey of CFOs and CIOs last summer about the impact of big data. Enthusiastically many reported that it was ‘changing everything.’ However, enthusiasm and even extra capacity (to handle the changes created by big data – which means throwing capital at this situation, resulting in an increase of human / technological capacity) aside, only 25 percent ‘were actually putting any big data-related insights into practice.’

Not Enough Actionable Understanding

A November 2013 study by StrongView, working with SENSORPRO, found there’s a lot of consumer data that CMOs and CIOs don’t currently have access to. Either not having the right tools or the requisite knowledge to use the tools currently available is what seems to be holding executives back.

Big Data Blog, Table_DT

Even consumer packaged goods (CPG) firms, who are more used than most at handling large amounts of consumer insights, are still struggling piecing together a more detailed view of consumer behavior.  All of this makes CFOs nervous when it comes to signing off on further big data investments, especially when many are having a hard time understanding the ROI this supposed miracle was meant to deliver.

Where to Begin?

Putting big data back in the bottle, or trying to ignore it, won’t work. Eventually competitors will get a handle on it, leaving you in the dust. The best answer, given the wealth of data tools like can give you, is to start small.

Pick a small group of data sets you want to understand better, based on social marketing automation plug and play tools can give you (when used in conjunction with CRM data). Such as: demographics, purchase life cycle, location or social media sentiment. Are they talking about your brand? Your competitors? Products or services you sell?

Once you’ve decided on a small section of data points to monitor, pick your objectives. Be firm on how you measure a win, in this scenario – and be clear on that before you launch a campaign.

Next, put together a strategy for how you’ll implement a campaign which will help score that win.

After the campaign, analyze what you learned from it. Look at the data points, see what other information you’d benefit from, and – a step most will overlook – talk to customers. Bank of America’s ‘Keep The Change’ social media campaign resulted in 2.5 million new customers, 700,000 checking accounts and one-million savings accounts. This came from asking customers, particularly one of their key demographics – working mothers – how they wanted their bank to interact with them via social media and email marketing.

The lesson from this is two-fold: use big data to understand your customers better, but also trust them to know what’s best for them. A combination of those two principles will give your marketing an enormous leap beyond any challenges big data is creating.

Struggling with your marketing campaigns? Investigate the ways others are tackling similar challenges and attend an online demonstration or download our recent whitepaper is a social marketing automation platform for modern marketing teams. We help brands and organizations predict how customers and supporters will behave – even what they might do or buy – from social data. It has been used by over 100 companies and organizations to improve thousands of email marketing and social media campaigns.

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