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Keys for Data Optimization

It takes many elements to create a successful marketing campaign. But if you are without the right data—and the right tools to use that valuable information to target your audience with appropriate messaging and content— you will fail.

Marketing has always had to drive insight from data, but today it is essential to create the best customer experience and create the most effective marketing strategies to drive revenue. We’ve all heard that ‘big data solves it all,’ but if the data is incomplete or fragmented, it can lead a marketer to the wrong decision.

Despite the inevitable burnout now following the hype, more than half of enterprises believe their investment in big data over the next three years will outstrip past investment in information management.

Tools can help marketers craft a cohesive profile of their customers and prospects. Data optimization solutions help marketers manage first, second and third-party data so that it is actionable, and kept up-to-date. Without this level of quality of data, marketers will struggle to engage customers, optimize the experience or demonstrate how their activities impact the bottom line.”

Many organizations now find themselves reluctantly chasing the trend with the realization that they’re investing not to get ahead, but to keep up with diminished returns on investment now that there’s a greater competitive risks of falling behind. However, savvy big data followers can still lap the field if they’re smart about how they go about it.

THE CURRENT DATA LANDSCAPE

In the past, cost put data optimization solutions out of the reach of many marketers. But cost has dropped significantly, making once-expensive tech more affordable and thus more accessible for a wider range of marketing organizations.

When you see what massive data centers and software used to cost, it’s no comparison. Five to 10 years ago, to have a one terabyte database server would have cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now for the same amount of data it would cost between 23 and 30 cents a month. It’s amazing the way in which the tools have evolved.

Consider that IBM’s new Watson big data analytics software is available for $30 per month.

Think about it, for less than what you pay for coffee per month, you can buy access to a supercomputer that has millions of nodes and for $30 a month you can have it deliver insights back that 10 years ago were not even possible.

Marketers also want to import clean, accurate data into their nurture tracks as quickly as possible to help streamline the customer experience and the sales process. Getting the data right before it gets into the database is key.

If you get it right before it goes into your system, not only does it improve customer experience, but it also doesn’t slow down salespeople with bad information. Ultimately what you see is higher conversions, and decreased cost per opportunity because your data is accurate.

For example, validated and verified data for relevance to a campaign, and with verified contact’s email, phone and mailing address data before it is cleared to enter a database makes for a more cost-effective project. Think of it as the bouncer at the front door to verify that you get what you pay for before it moves into databases and automation tracks. It has been proven that 39% of data has incorrect information at some level— either it’s invalid or incomplete or doesn’t meet the right criteria. Of course, now that the tools are within reach, the knowledge to use the tools is something that marketers need to acquire.

The gap used to be resources—you couldn’t afford it. Now it’s what to do with all of these tools. The fastest way for a marketer to get ahead today is to start learning how data works. Learn what data is, how to use it. Learn the basics of statistics and data storage, reporting, and remember, if you’re not good at small data, you won’t be good at big data either.

SOCIAL INSIGHTS

Making the most of social media data is an ever-changing space, and tech solutions are slowly making strides to keep up.

The first step to success lies in learning what data is available to you from social networks already. If you go into Twitter’s analytics portal you will see a few stats here and there, but when you download your own data there are 30 or 40 different fields, many of which aren’t readily available on the inter- face.

Marketers need accurate information so that they can personalize communications that are more engaging to customers. Getting the data right from the get-go is an important step that will result in fewer headaches down the line.

If your data isn’t clean, formatted and standardized, that’s a problem. With marketing automation, targeting and retargeting, marketers can personalize campaigns with very accurate data, and this is critically important.

Marketers also need to make sure that core systems are integrated so the data can be integrated, and to standardize processes for data. If you have data coming in from multiple points and it’s not standardized, it’s going to come in bad, wrong or different, which will cause conflict.

Bringing different silos of data together is also a challenge. Marketing organizations engaging with customers across an ever-growing array of digital channels typically deal with many different data repositories, and the number is increasing.

The problem is data can’t be shared between tools, apps and departments so it remains locked away and unusable, Siloed data is difficult or impossible to share, and more importantly for marketing efforts, it can’t provide a single customer view.

The unfortunate consequence of not having a single customer view is a disjointed, customer experience that leads to unsatisfied or frustrated customers. A loyal e-commerce customer will experience frustration when he or she has to create another account profile to access the pharmacy department. Or consider the case of a customer who tries to access her bank’s new mobile app, but the security access code texts are sent to an out- dated phone number.

WHAT’S NEXT

Pattern recognition will greatly help marketers, as they won’t need to collect as much personally identifying information on customers and prospects.

It’s about tracking online patterns of behavior—if I know where my company’s sales and marketing fits into those patterns, then I can be predictive about the purchases of anyone else who exhibits a similar pattern. I don’t need to collect all of that invasive information, I can tell by a pattern of behavior what they’re likely to look at next.

Predictive analytics data, based on past user behavior and pushing it through into nurture tracks and sales follow-up, is where we are headed. We will be trying to predict what’s going to happen based on the data sets that we have and what other customers have done.


Social Network Marketing – Don’t be left behind

Businesses are slowly learning the importance of social networking. It’s not too late to begin – but moving quickly may be a good idea. The incredible success of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has become a reason for businesses to seriously look at these in order to be more competitive. Companies are realizing the importance of developing consumer relationships in a digital world. Social network marketing, in many cases, has become a #1 strategy for successfully marketing many products and services.

top 10 socialTo include social networking in your marketing plan means you are placing your ear to the ground in order to know exactly what consumers are saying about what they are buying. It also means you are plugging into the digital world to understand, in real-time, how individuals, families and other business are changing. And, we all know how quickly our world changes now – by the minute.

Social network marketing is not the fix-all to enhancing consumer attitude and awareness. However, without it, you simply are not tapped into the information and competitive community that is quickly becoming the mainstream of our society’s nervous system. Many have believed this medium was for social communication only. Now, we are finding out that it is the modern day, invention of the telephone, a time when communication quickly became a connection between consumers – and businesses who were the first to realize the potential of something new and multi-faceted in gaining new business.

So where will social media go from here? Who knows, but it most likely will blossom into a bigger and better personalized medium, where users get what they want when they want it, and are able to express their attitudes and opinions readily. Best of all, savy businesses will be right there when all this is taking place. And, for those businesses who are unwilling to acknowledge this powerful new digital world of personalized communication? Well, let’s just say – see ya!

The move for companies and marketing experts to embrace social networking as an important part of their marketing plan will be difficult for many. We have become so comfortable understanding the detailed attributes and negatives of the mediums already on our palette. Yet, we must realize the benefits of social network marketing to engage consumers in a one-on-one relationship that is powered by lots of communication that has not existed up until now in the quantity and quality this medium provides.

Social media gives us the power to direct the consumer’s attitudes and purchases rather than paint them to see what happens. And, if we listen carefully, we can fine-tune our products and services to be more of what buyers want. Up until now, we have projected ourselves into the market place with demographic, psychographic and geographic information/consideration – all designed to tell our story the way we wanted it told. All that has changed, or at least is changing. No longer will the tail wag the dog. Because of new technology, the dog will finally wag his own tail. And, if we are not careful, we will be like a flea that gets tossed off the end of the tail and out of the hunt.

Social marketing is a soft sell. It is not for those that want to charge in and begin pushing products and services to an audience that is there because they want to be in control. On the contrary, social media is about sharing and becoming apart of the society in order to encourage and provide legitimate benefits that fit the lifestyles of the network participants.

Be multi-dimensional. Be sure what you are saying is interesting, informative, fun, and anything but boring. Many businesses are using social media to pod-cast fun and informational snip-its in order to get a buzz going. For it is this buzz that can grow and deliver participants/consumers at the most cost-effective price ever realized in the marketing universe. Just about FREE. A buzz is not easily created. There is a certain timing + creative genius = formula that is very difficult to achieve. But, it is being done everyday by those who have taken the time to listen, learn, understand and craft – with caution.

Many companies are developing unique features to keep their customers, followers and fans interested. This is a medium that is very personal, yet not so personal that you become unwelcome. In this new digital world things are changing quickly, and the change is not complete by any measure. It will be interesting to see where all this goes. It is my belief that it is the new direction for marketers to explore and utilize. In its infancy, but nevertheless, a change in direction that was inevitably going to happen considering the speed technology is moving and the demand for new and better ways to communicate and purchase the things we all want and need.

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