In today’s competitive multi-channel environment, marketers recognize the need to be at the right place at the right time in the customer’s buying cycle. Treating customers and prospects as individuals throughout their buying cycle or “journey” requires marketers to communicate to them in ways that are driven by both interest and convenience. Nearly half of all consumers say the best thing retailers can do to improve their shopping experience is better integration of shopping channels, while 89 percent say more choice of those channels is crucial. (Accenture)
The promise of Big Data in marketing may hold the key to the new cross-channels rules of personalization. Like most things Big Data, marketers see a lot of promise and potential but have little to show for it. Here’s what today’s marketers need to be able to do with their Big Data to market at the speed of the customer — across digital, social and mobile channels, at the right time.
- Elastic database: Big Data in marketing needs to start with an elastic database. Depending on the company’s requirements, marketers need the ability to easily scale the database up or down — whether they need a simple list or a full marketing data mart. At any time they need the ability to add or reduce the number of contacts and enrich or lighten customer profiles.
- Multi-channel, modular and scalable database: Aside from agility, marketers need new nimble database technology and analytics that integrate all customer touch points, inbound feeds, and outbound campaign results with a multi-channel outbound publishing and delivery capability. This enables marketers to react and engage with a customer to deliver what the customer wants, when they want it, wherever they are.
- Real-time listening integration: Real-time listening lets marketers connect to their audience anywhere and listen for what makes them tick. This gives them the chance to personalize the brand’s interactions and react to their behaviors. Real-time listening integration also provides for a sophisticated lead qualification capability that allows marketers to direct the appropriate resources to gain the conversion or purchase.
- Hyper-fast, visual segmentation: In the new cross-channel, real-time world we live in, marketers need to be able to build complex segments quickly and easily and then get results at lightning speed. To do that, traditional database approaches, requiring sophisticated statistical skills, are not cutting it any more. Marketers need nimble database segmentation tools, which provide easy, real-time, personalized customer segmentation without requiring them to be database experts. On databases with tens of millions of contacts, today’s marketers need sub-second response times. Lastly, marketers have to able to continually visualize the attributes and numbers of individuals in their database. They need to see visual counts with numbers that are continuously updated. When they modify the database or queries, they need to be able to immediately see the impact.
These four new database capabilities are the key to marketers collecting smart data to drive better campaigns and continuously perpetuate this cycle to stay relevant. With these Big and Smart Data capabilities, marketers can then visualize results of campaigns in real time and dynamically modify them while campaigns are running. Only then will marketers be able to achieve a high degree of real-time personalization and contextualization — the path to winning the hearts and minds of today’s empowered customers on the go.
Mike Shanker is the CEO and co-founder of QuickPivot, the leader in real-time cross-channel marketing automation solutions and services for B2B and B2C enterprises. An expert in marketing data, customer relationship management, and operations, Mike has over 25 years of leadership experience in software and services companies. Mike has provided executive leadership and increased business value at Interleaf, Comtex Systems, Broadway and Seymour, and Oracle.