There are many misunderstandings about big data: a substantial Excel spreadsheet is often casually described as big data. Something is or isn’t big data based on the four V’s: volume, variety, velocity and veracity. At the two-day Multichannel Conference in the Jaarbeurs Exhibition Centre, Peter Reddering, a Principal Consultant at Cmotions, gave an inspiring presentation about the role that data, particularly big data, can play in boosting commercial success via various online and offline channels.
“Big data is sexy and is used in countless industries,” Peter Reddering explains. “In medical science, data is helping to predict epidemics and find remedies for diseases. In the automotive sector, data is being used to develop self-driving cars. Facebook is able to predict how your relationship will develop better than you can yourself.”
Big data is about real-time use (velocity) of large quantities of unstructured data (volume), with links to external sources (variety). IBM added the fourth V: veracity, i.e. the representativeness of the data.
But for many companies, big data remains a mystery. As the behavioural economist and TED speaker Dan Ariely once said: “Big Data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”
“Ultimately it isn’t so much big data that matters, but the successful application of that data,” Reddering argues. “Application is aimed at taking better decisions and attaining objectives in all channels and across organisational boundaries. The tools are the buttons we have to press.” An essential part of this is to recognise customers and their needs. Patrick Kitchell, a CRM Manager at Sitecore, illustrated this with a fitting metaphor: “Consumers are like serial killers. Like serial killers, consumers have a secret yearning to be caught and so they leave breadcrumb trails behind them. The hard bit is to find the breadcrumbs and the clues hidden within them.”
The Multichannel Conference which was all about complementarity and collaboration between webshops, mobile and physical shops, informed the participants about the importance and use of data for success across different channels. Peter Reddering: “The digitisation of society is creating more and more data. Technologies are developing at a fast pace, driven by the “Scary 5” (Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook). Increasingly, data is the all-important key to customer knowledge, effective customer interaction and offering memorable customer experiences.” Kitchell agrees: “Knowing the journey of the customer is the key to survival today. Does your content meet the need of the hungry?”
Daan Noordeloos talked on behalf of Transavia about how the airline is able to disentangle customer satisfaction using the Passenger Experience Index (PXI): “We have developed a model that allows us to calculate exactly what one more point on customer satisfaction costs or delivers. The customer journey, which determines 30% of customer loyalty, is made up of 24 touchpoints, for which we know the costs and benefits of improving it with a certain factor.”
As a specialist in Fact-Based Marketing Management, Cmotions has extensive experience in many industries: from retail to the financial sector and from telecoms to the automotive industry, with companies at different levels of maturity in terms of data management.
Reddering: “This experience and knowledge enables us to advise companies and support them in attracting, developing and retaining valuable customer relationships. I think companies in the retail and financial sectors can learn a lot from one another. For example, financial institutions have gone much further in recognising customers and in building and expanding long-term customer data. They are more preoccupied with predicting behaviour than in explaining it. Retail, on the other hand, is better at identifying customers, looking for added value.”
The central idea in many of the presentations at the Multichannel Conference was integrating the various different silos within an organisation. Getting online and offline silos to work together has also been a challenge for the insurer Ditzo. Kasper Kaszuba, an online marketeer at Ditzo, predicts that “pure players”, companies exclusively providing their services online, will disappear. “You can already see this happening with KPN’s Hi. At Ditzo we are expanding our services by integrating branding and sales campaigns.” Reddering acknowledges that companies need to combine online and offline data, but sees more opportunities: “Combining online and offline data is essential in order to optimise the marketing mix, customer experience and customer value, but social network analysis can also play a major part in customer value and customer retention.” Finally, companies will do well to look out of the box. “By linking external and internal data sources, you can get a better picture of customer development and customer experience, but also of things like risk profiles.”
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