Data Mining Guest Post: Jed Mole

Today’s post is written by Jed Mole, European Marketing Director at Acxiom. Ted explains how to reach customers through big data.

Reaching your customers through big data: Three principles to more accurate data mining

With so many devices and contact points between marketers and consumers, transforming floods of data into effective, monetisable consumer databases can be a mammoth task. If effectively used, connected, up-to-date, complete and accurate consumer data allows marketers to engage the right individuals with the right offers at the right times. But while you may think you have the data to do this, how accurate is your information really? Can you always contact consumers via their preferred contact channel and device? Are your databases entirely complete? And if so, are you sure your information is still relevant? Data shelf lives are increasingly short and old or incomplete data could hinder rather than help customer access.

It’s enough to send marketers into a multichannel meltdown!

But big data can cut through the commotion for clearer reach: creating a more complete data picture of consumer details, desires, habits and preferences for more accurate access – if you know how to harness it!

Know what you don’t know.

The first step in using data for accurate access is to think of your marketing strategy like a jigsaw. If you don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle – or have the wrong ones – you won’t end up with an accurate customer  picture. But if you know the information you already have (through conducting a data audit), you can fill in the gaps. Then you can use big data like a logical friend; who can help locate your missing puzzle pieces and tell you which parts to place where and when.

During data audits, be aware that today’s consumer data often has a rapid decay rate. Information collected six months ago (or even last week in some case) may now be incorrect, so any marketing effort using that information would be a waste of time and resources. Effective audits should recognise and address this deleting duplicate information, and removing ‘lost’ customers (who have moved house, unsubscribed etc.).

Database cleansing and pruning – like cutting the dead stalks off a plant – prevents unfruitful data use, saves money and gives a much clearer picture of current data health and quality, so audits should be carried out at very regular intervals.

Build on what you do.

Not knowing who your potential leads and prospects are, or losing touch with loyal customers is a substantial obstacle to effective customer reach and engagement. And while it may appear useful, partially complete data is a serious obstacle to accuracy. For example, if you only have postal addresses, you can’t send eCasts or text messages which may be more appropriate for your targets.

But once you know what’s missing or incorrect you can determine the actions necessary to smooth errors, fill data gaps and streamline customer access.

Third party ‘big data’ specialists are the answer to filling these data spaces and completing consumer databases. Giving marketers access to relevant monetisable information, big data allows business to synchronise their online and offline records. And when this data is used to streamline and optimise marketing communications, it enables success through accurate marketing access, prospect identification, consumer retention, and revenue generation.

Then use that data to better contact consumers.

Understanding demographic contact preferences means communications can be efficiently and accurately tailored to individual channel preference, enhancing read and response rates, and bypassing brand dissonance caused by poorly targeted, unappealing messages.

With such a range of technologies and contact channels (text, direct mail, email, online or in store consumer data, landline etc) the margin for error is wide. But if communications are narrowcast to suit specific demographics (interest preferences, location, marital status for example), multichannel messages can have better relevancy, which will increase revenue and efficiency. This is big data in action; creating a streamlined, yet 360 degree view of each consumer as an individual.

Solving confusing data puzzles to make insight clear, using big data insights to reach customers allows marketers to get the fundamentals of marketing right in today’s ‘noisy world’. Contacting the right people at the right time, via the right channels –  always leads to greater certainty, enhanced ROI, through more efficient, accurate engagement.


This article was written by Jed Mole, European Marketing Director at Acxiom a data analytics and software-as-a-service company.


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