Bullseye: How Big Data has helped Marketing hit the target every time

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At its core, marketing is about effective communication. How to deliver the message about a product or service through the need assessment, past the decision-making process and into the hands of the consumer. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. The mediums by which the message is moved through the communication channels have been fragmented by the internet and mobile devices. It is much harder to reach the intended target when they are constantly on the move.

The rules of engagement for marketing are the same: The right person with the right message at the right time in the right place. The challenge now is finding the right place. Television has always been the key medium to deliver high quality images and sound to a captive audience. And for the most part, television still is. However, the way people watch television has drastically changed. More and more people are using television on-demand to watch programming whenever they want and not during prime broadcasting time slots. Adding in the fact, a growing majority of people are not gathering around their televisions but watching it on their laptops or mobile devices. This has created more static than a strong signal to the channel.

With all of this fragmentation of time and place, what is a marketer to do?

The answer is data. Big Data is the collection of all the tiny fragments brought back together to create a very clear big picture. Here is how the same old rules are used in the new game of marketing:

The right person: Social media has opened many doors for marketers to walk through and into the audiences’ homes. No longer is the target audience a female, age 30-55, living in North America with 2.3 kids with an annual income of $69,000 to $75,000. She is Jennifer who lives in Calgary with her husband, son, and daughter and drives a Toyota Sienna. Social media has helped brands create the deep personal connections with their audience. Relationships that used to take years to establish with traditional advertising alone. Now, brands can see the faces of the people they serve and engage with them on a more personal level.

The right message: Have you ever looked up a new song on the internet and then all the advertisements on your sidebar for the next week are for the album that song appears on. That nifty occurrence is Google’s AdWords and predictive analytics at work. No longer do you have to struggle to find the message that will appease to your needs. The message will find you.

The right time: One of the things that makes the Super Bowl the best sports event of the year are the commercials. For one night a year you can see the best, longest, and most dramatic commercials that are on-par with sitcom episodes. In a perfect world, marketers would want it to be the Super Bowl every day with an undistracted viewership. The reality is, life is busy and full for distraction. Especially, if most households have multiple televisions, computers, and Smartphones. The audience is no longer at the mercy of the advertiser’s or mediums schedule. With the use of data in social media trends, Nielsen rating reports, and growing number of Smartphone ownership, marketers are better able to time the likelihood that their message will be seen, be the most effective, and actionable.

The right place: As it was mentioned before, the mediums are drastically changing. This leaves marketers scrambling to keep the audience they have and attract new ones. “Spray and pray” is a term marketers used to describe the costly uncertainty that comes with blindly leading a marketing plan and execution.

Mobile devices and application are probably the best thing to happen to marketers since the television. With the use of geo-targeted advertising through location tracking and brand’s offering fun and engaging mobile applications. Today marketing is so precise and in real time that when a customer enters a shop they can receive promotions on their phone and increase the chances of action.

Although, there are many choices as to what medium to use to deliver the message, the use of data in marketing has taken the guessing out and made execution more effective. Marketing messages are no longer being shot in every direction at random targets. With today’s data information refining the process of the right message to right the person at the right time in the right place, marketers can hit the bullseye every time

Brick by B.R.I.C: How Big Data is Strengthening Emerging Markets

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What does it take to build a new business? The answer is usually a shopping list consisting of money, people, equipment, materials, and knowledge. But what if some of these items are scarce or few? Does this mean that the potential business idea is doomed, especially if the country the business will operate in lacks the required resources? The answer is no, the potential business idea has all the resources it needs with the integration of Big Data

Craig Mundie, Senior Advisor to the CEO at Microsoft, is quoted as saying:

“Data is becoming the new raw material of business”

Mundie is completely right in saying so. Big Data is the ultimate game changer in the world of business for a number of reasons. First, Big Data is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of machinery or technology. Second, so long as basic math and computer skills are taught, Big Data doesn’t require a PhD to learn (although having a PhD in analytics never hurts.) Lastly, Big Data transcends language barriers. As the language of data is numerical, the findings are simple to express and outcomes easy to convey. The key is asking the right questions of the data

Big Data has brought opportunity to the emerging markets of B.R.I.C (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) in a way that has made them an equal contender in the world’s economy. Here are some of the ways Big Data is being used in these countries:

Although Brazil was a little late to the Big Data game, it was quick to institute college and university courses to its curriculum because it lacked qualified analytic professionals. The second reason for this educational action was to help build its citizens resumes and qualify them for higher paying jobs in fields of statistics, math and technology, both locally and abroad.

For years Russia has been a leader in technology. It should come as no surprise that Russia has some of the world’s most highly reputable programmers in the field of Big Data and analytic technology. From developing telecommunication software to using data to assess weather conditions for travel, Russia is creating data technology that the everyday person will use. At a competitive level, Russia is able to keep it costs down which has made their services desirable to smaller businesses who are looking to outsource their data analytics.

The people of India are known for their upbeat attitudes and kind demeanor, which is why many telecommunication centres set up shop there. The sheer population of India gives it a huge competitive advantage when it comes to labour. Telecommunication service are viewed mainly as a customer service function of any business. However, telecommunication is brimming with Big Data opportunity. At its base, telecommunication is Big Data personified. It is the collection of data on the human experience of any business’s products and services. The data that is collected via telephone exchanges is then collected and converted to the insights that make the decision-making opportunities of Big Data so effective.

Aside from China’s vast population, it was the first to use electronic trading. China’s Big Data advantage comes from its large population. This large population gives China the largest databases in the world from which to draw insights and analytics from. These large databases have given China great predictive power in terms of financial planning and spotting market trends. This ability to foresee financial opportunities and pitfalls has made the world’s economists and stockbrokers turn to China for financial advice.

It would be remiss to omit Mexico from the list of emerging markets. Mexico has been using Big Data to create jobs and control drug-related violence in recent years.

Big Data has cracked the code on business opportunities in many ways. Most importantly, it has created a level playing field for markets to set up shop and advance in the global economy quickly and efficiently. It should be mentioned that most of the advances that these countries have made in Big Data have only been in the last four years or less. B.R.I.C may be referred to as emerging markets but with the results of their efforts today, they will be mature in no time.

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Connected: Big Data for Social Good

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Connected

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It was author Randa Abdel-Fattah who said: “Belief means nothing without actions.”  The same can be said of data. With data being collected at an estimated and astounding 2.5 quintillion bytes of daily data, these numbers are meaningless if not for the innovation and action of the humans generating it. Big Data is more than just the latest buzzword in the IT and business community. It is being used to improve the quality of life for millions of people around the world and bringing new opportunities for developing nations.

Three areas where big data is being used for social good are: agriculture, micro-credit loans for entrepreneurs in developing countries, and predicting then decreasing the prevalence of crime in high-risk regions.

Farmonomics:

Farmers for centuries have known their land, their crops, and weather patterns like the backs of their hands. However, as the world’s population continues to grow and the unpredictability of the environment and atmosphere, these variables threaten everything our farmers have relied on. The integration of Big Data in agriculture enables farmers to input data about their seeds, weather patterns, soil quality and saved them time and money in the face of the biggest threat to any industry, the natural environment. Through data aggregation technology, farmers are able to yield better crops, avoid droughts, work towards food security for the growing global population, and remove some of the guess work.

Mobile Money-Makers:

The availability of cell phones in developing countries is rapidly changing the quality of life for the people who live there. Aside from the ability to communicate on a larger scale, cell phone use in developing nations is increasing literacy and household incomes. As many people in the western world would know, cell phones collect a lot of data about the user, connects the user to the internet, receives and stores important correspondence which can instantly open doors of opportunity for employment.

Mobile crowdsourcing is being used to help entrepreneurs tap into micro-credit loans, supply donated water to drought-ridden areas of the world through NextDrop, and allow the underemployed to find work doing small jobs at a global-scale through application like Cloud Factory. Cellular phones have made the global economy scalable at an individual level. With the help of data collection, mobile applications, and cellphone access, we can finally make improvements to the quality of life around the world into a tangible reality.

Crime & Space:

Every year in every city there is a statistical report released to show how well (or not so well) law enforcement has been able to manage and deter illegal activities and crimes. It should come as no surprise that law-makers and enforcers are using big data as a predictive tool to determine the likelihood of crime at a regional level. There are many reports and studies around “contagious crime” or crime that is prevalent in areas that share the same characteristics. These characteristics include areas of high poverty, racial segregation, and past history of illegal activity. By recording data around these characteristics, time of year, places, and individuals involved, and creating positive relationships between these communities and law enforcement, crime is being controlled and mitigated before it happens with greater results and better outcomes.