Trend no 1 BIG DATA
In early 2012 when the world first came into contact with the term Big Data, most of us non-IT people thought: Well, we have a Big Database, we have a Huge Database. In fact we have a Monster Database. So no-worries, we’ve got Big Data!
There are many definitions out there, depending upon your business needs, but in a nutshell, Big Data is the collection and analysis of your company’s information on a massive, massive scale … in order to allow the marketer to create specific packages and campaigns for individual clients – in real time. Think Amazon. Think Cloud. Think marketing to your Customer-of-One.
Unstructured data, often located in a company’s text files, comprises at least 80% of organisational data; often petabytes* of random data that would be inefficient in time and cost to load into a relational database. Left unmanaged it is useless. Put through a Big Data Analytics process it allow companies to drill deep in order to understand exactly, make decisions, and act in real-time to better service their clients. The possibilities for new innovation, improved agility, and increased profitability are huge. *(1 000 000 000 000 000 bytes)
Of course, the fundamental principle of Big Data is not new. Full client knowledge is a guiding principle of good marketing. The concept of know-your-customer is as old as marketing itself. What’s new and what’s valuable is that the new technology now allows us to collect and interpret the tsunami of data already available within our company systems. Big Data software then makes this collective information available in a format that allows the marketer to drive real-time marketing campaigns.
The IT technology and tools to execute Big Data processing are new. The downside is that companies will have to gear-up with the necessary technology or else outsource the service.
What can the small business learn from Big Data?In the last 10 years the easy (and inexpensive) option of bulk emails meant that we could all be sloppy about our databases, and send out huge email blasts to “see what comes back”. The continuing drop in email opening rates makes it essential that we start again and take a fresh new look at how we emarket.
There’s another reason why we should consider Big Data analytics.
Whilst most of us are not marketing on the scale of Amazon or Apple or Levi, the Protection of Personal Information Bill (POPI) imminent in South Africa in 2014, means that we will all have to clean up our acts in terms of our databases. So we should welcome the bill because its opt-in requirement will give professional marketers the opportunity to “up” their game plan… to know and understand their clients at the next level. Big Data will allow us to discover repeatable business patterns, to track and interpret the needs of our best customers, and to help us create a marketing package around specific needs. In short Big Data marketing becomes a game-changing strategy… It’s an exciting and new way to re-imagine your email marketing.
Big Data allows eMarketing to take a giant step forward.
If you’re not quite ready to invest in Big Data software, you can still use the concept of deeper customer knowledge to improve your marketing this year. In 2013 our databases should be more targeted, more effective, more profitable, even if we have to sacrifice size for quality. Bulk emailing becomes a thing of the past, and the right message of engagement to a segmented and more “perfect” client base, becomes the name of the game. (See Nurturing Campaigns below).
The first step is simply to start creating your own database of good (Big) data. Throw out the useless names, and make a fresh start, intent on marketing to your list of perfect clients.
Trend no 2 NURTURING eCAMPAIGNS.
The Brand as Thought Leader.
In 2013 companies marketing themselves intelligently by email will have to take some giant strides forward. Hope-for-the-best email blasts used as a quick-fix for diminishing sales will be replaced by fresh, more strategic approaches. Quality content [The Brand as Thought Leader] will replace sales hype to meet the higher standards of engagement expected by the new it’s-all-about-me customer. Big Data will allow marketers to reshape their products around client pain points and real needs.
So what is a Nurturing eCampaign?
Here we need to consider 3 things:
(a) clients prefer to do business with an industry expert, and
(b) the most read emails are those “that teach me how to do my job better”. [ref Nielsen (USA) research study].
(c) executive time is at a premium, and keeping up-to-date with current industry information is increasingly difficult for most business people.
The concept of a Nurturing eCampaign is to tap into the above 3 needs by becoming an “expert” in your industry. Marketers send their perfect clients short, to-the-point and minimum-read information sets related to the industry… and not specifically to the products which they sell. For example, if your business is about selling strategic workshops, you could send an information piece “What Harvard says about Strategy in 2013”. Use google to source the articles, and then précis them into no more than 3 short paragraphs; with a link to the source site.
WATCHPOINT! Here I need to stress that a Nurturing eCampaign is not the current practice of sending out long-long emails with a multiple choice list of more> links. Don’t fall into this lazy marketing pattern. Show your real expertise by highlighting no more than “3 things I found most interesting about this article”. And note. Drop the sales pitch. Just a simple description in text of pictures of what you do, and what you sell, as a footnote below the nurturing email. We suggest one nurturing ecampaign a month, twelve in a year of top-top quality information sets.
And if you’re still sending out “newsletters” to connect with your client base, at best, expect to be ignored. At worst expect to do damage to your brand. The hard fact is that your clients are not interested in your “news”.
In 2013 companies that apply their intelligence and time to connect with their clients with relevant information without trying to “sell” them on every contact, will grow and flourish.
In the words of my old marketing professor guru “Marketing is simple. Find out what your clients want. And then give it to them.”
Simple, yes. But not easy. It requires effort. And planning. And dedication.
And if your company is chasing sales, and not thinking that marketing comes ahead of sales… you’re dead in the water before you start. In 2013 companies that demonstrate versatility of skills and flexibility of mind will make a good living. Those that fail to adapt will limit their chances. Or simply go to the wall.