Big data in marketing: how to gain the advantage

What should a big data marketing strategy entail?

Big data

We create a staggering 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, according to a report from IDC. In fact, these days we create so much that it's estimated 90 per cent of all of the data in the world today has come about in the last two years alone.

It's no surprise more and more data is being generated as internet-connected devices increase, big data infiltrates our daily lives and consumers gain more comfort about sharing their details with brands.

Consumer attitudes are evolving – recent research commissioned by Webtrends found that, contrary to perceptions of 'Big Brother', more than half of Britons say they're not bothered about the amount of data they share with brands.

Younger Brits are especially keen to share – 68 per cent of 18-24 year olds aren't concerned by the amount they share, followed by 64 per cent of 25-34 year olds. These generations have grown up in a far more connected, data-centric world and often recognise the "tit for tat" benefits of sharing personal info with their favourite brands.

Using data to capitalise on value of real-time insight

As these attitudes evolve further, the door is open for your business to be more creative and innovative in how you use data to give customers the personalised, exciting and engaging experiences they seek. Big data is a key part of the equation to understanding exactly who your customers are and how you can engage with them.

With widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets, you can accumulate 'in-the-moment' data that can help to develop truly personalised, relevant, real-time connections with your target audiences in ways that were once unimaginable.

In an increasingly digital era, consumers have come to expect immediate, personalised experiences online, and the control of how and if they engage remains firmly in their hands.

This means successful engagement and conversion may come down to a matter of seconds. Businesses need to have the tools and solutions in place to be able to offer customers the instant experiences they seek. This is where real-time insight comes into its own.

The ability to analyse customer data within minutes enables you to quickly respond to your customers' needs as they occur. Real-time analytics provide intelligence into visitor movement to, from and within a site. Using this, you can modify messaging, content and offers on the fly to make your customer interactions more relevant. This encourages engagement and in turn increases sales conversions.

Insights in action

For example, using real-time insight, you can see which products are being viewed by a customer on your website. You can then serve up links to other relevant products indicated by their preferences and behaviour online, or deliver personalised discounts and offers that increase the likelihood of converting the sale.

These actionable insights can also be used to inform future plans for campaigns to target consumers and encourage them to visit your website or engage with your brand, maximising the effectiveness of your marketing spend.

Case study: How KLM used real-time insights to quadruple email conversions

In 2011, international airline KLM implemented an email solution to share general customer offers and updates. This broadened over time to target online customers who viewed flight details but failed to make a booking. These potential customers were flagged to KLM's system, and would be sent an email encouraging them to make a purchase. This email would typically arrive eight or nine hours after their interaction on the KLM website.

In recent years the online travel market has become more fast-paced and KLM realised it needed a solution that would allow it to identify these interested visitors within minutes after they had interacted with the brand – a more optimal timeframe for successful retargeting.

The following year, KLM implemented Webtrends Streams®, the world's first real-time data intelligence and analytics solution. Using real-time data captured by Streams, such as flight destination and date, KLM can immediately react to a potential customer who may abandon their booking by emailing them a personalised, targeted message within minutes of leaving the site to entice them back and complete the sale.