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Guest Post: Big Data And The Looking Glass

Guest Post: Big Data And The Looking Glass

Lisa Arthur

05/09/2014

By Lisa Arthur, CMO at Teradata Applications
@lisaarthur

We now generate data in virtually everything we do –when we work, when we shop, when we travel, even when we “check-in” at our favorite restaurants or when we connect with one another on social media. And this data is a reflection, a reflection of what we do and our preferences.

In theory, then, businesses should be able to know their customers –and their employees and their partners –better than ever. They should be able to use all that data to understand what motivates people to work, to buy, to eat, to share, to get involved . . . .

That makes sense in theory, right? With more and better data, there should be more and better understanding.

But unfortunately, that’s not the case.

In fact, sometimes exactly the opposite happens. I’ve seen how marketers can become so overwhelmed with the idea of big data that they decide to focus exclusively on one tiny slice of it (usually the portion that they can access the easiest or the one that they feel is the cleanest).

That kind of narrow lens can lead to trouble, especially when customers feel they’re not being heard. “Hey, wait a minute! I’ve had three phone conversations with your customer service department to tell them I’m returning your product, so why are you still sending me emails asking if I want to upgrade it? Didn’t you get my return? Do I need to call, again?”

How can you do better? How can you use data to improve your understanding of your customers, your employees and your partners?

First, get informed. Using data to drive business performance is a hot topic, and you need to be participating in those conversations. (Attend the Bunchball Gamification Rockstar Roadshow happening later this week in San Francisco, and you’ll be able to do exactly that with a select group of the true pioneers in the fields of big data analytics and gamification.)

Second, you have to commit to developing a full view. You have to uncover and act upon the critical pieces of data you’re missing, whether that’s location data, sensor data, partner data, competitive data, internal or external, structured or unstructured, online or offline . . .

And you have to connect those pieces to create a comprehensive whole.

After all, if you’re not integrating all your data, you’re losing out. You’re missing opportunities . . . and you’re not getting the full value of what’s natively inside your data.

Most of my book Big Data Marketing is devoted to what I call the Five Steps Of Data-Driven Marketing. But there’s no reason for these five steps to apply only to marketing; you can use this basic framework to tackle any big data problem:

1.      Get Smart. Get Strategic.

2.      Tear Down the Silos

3.      Untangle the Data Hairball

4.      Make Metrics Your Mantra

5.      Process Is the New Black

The key is to realize that data is a reflection of people. And that you need to start leveraging all the data that’s available to you. You need to start unraveling the data hairball strand by strand so you can uncover insights. Once you do, you’ll begin to better understanding your customer, your employees and your partners –and you’ll start improving business performance, as well.

Just think of the difference integrated data would have made in the customer example I outlined above. If customer service could have communicated the product return to marketing, the emails could have been stopped –which in turn, would have eliminated additional call volume and improved the overall customer experience.

Data-driven business is a game changer, and I’m eager to continue this conversation at the Bunchball Gamification Rockstar Roadshow. Hope to see you there!

Save 25% off the cost of registration with promo code BBROCKS. 

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