The benefits of big data in marketing
Stage 2: Promote
James Blake
23rd January 2017
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Imagine being part of a generation who grew up with the ability to get anything they wanted with the touch of a button. They spend large proportions of their time online, whether shopping or socialising, and are quick to embrace new online trends. That’s Generation Z. Now imagine trying to market to them.

On average, a loyal customer is a lot more valuable to a business than a new customer, with many sources saying it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to sell to an existing one. With this in mind, it is vital that online retailers build a meaningful relationship with their customers from the first point of contact, which will likely be when they first start spending.

Generation Z are the cohort born after 1996, meaning the oldest will soon be turning 20. The late teenage years are the time when people start to take control of their own finances, and with many heading to university at the age of 18 or 19 it’s likely the first time they have had their own job and been able to shop and make purchasing decisions without the supervision of their families.

This group of consumers bring with them a huge opportunity for online retailers to create potentially lifelong relationships. UK shoppers are estimated to have spent £60bn online last year, on products from an ever-increasing range of eCommerce websites.  But how do you stand out from the crowd when the crowd is so huge? Bombarding potential new customers with streams of marketing collateral is a sure way to put them off. Instead, to get a customer on board from the beginning, organisations need to tailor their approach to ensure they’re giving them what they want and need.

This generation have grown up with personalisation being standard. Amazon and many other e-commerce websites excel in this, suggesting products based on the individual’s preferences. This level of service is increasingly expected as the norm. Modern consumers don’t want to have to trawl through pages of products to find what they need – they want to be directed towards products that they are genuinely interested in. Personal touches like this can mean the difference between a consumer becoming a long-term and loyal customer, and opting for another website that will make their life more convenient and make them feel more valued.

So how can online retailers make this happen?

Personalisation and tailoring all marketing output seems like a great idea in theory, but how do you actually go about it? The good news is that the millennial generation has grown up with the internet, meaning that there is a vast amount of online data available from both their personal and professional social media accounts. E-commerce sites can utilise this in order to build up a picture of an individual based on their online footprint, enabling them to better understand their customer base. When it comes to marketing, sending baby products to an expecting mother is much more likely to result in a sale and encourage customer loyalty, compared to sending the same product information to a man in their 60s. Online retailers therefore need to move away from seeing their customers as a number or part of a simple demographic. All that’s needed to achieve this is the right tools.

99% of consumers are happy to share their online data with brands in return for personalised communications, provided that they do it with their consent. This data can then be sorted using big data analytics tools in order to build up a picture of an individual and their life. Information about likes and dislikes, marital status, life events and how many children someone has can all be used to create a tailored and effective marketing approach.

Taking advantage of this data set offers huge benefits for consumers and businesses alike. On top of personalised marketing, this insight can be used to pre-fill payment forms, detect and reduce fraudulent transactions and personalise products based on customer interests, saving time for customers and increasing the chances of them completing a purchase or joining a loyalty scheme.

It’s important to remember that the acquisition process and using targeted marketing is only the start. Following through the consumer journey can go a long way to building customer loyalty. Understanding consumer behaviour based on personality, interests, and life events provides key indicators of what products and offers they might be interested in.

For example, if homeware and furniture retailers have real-time insight into its customers’ life events, they can identify which customers are going to university and market their services at cheaper prices, which is ideal for students who may need to buy a lot of new items. Likewise, clothing retailers could identify which of its customers have upcoming holidays or graduations and provide them with offers such as ‘20% now off 1st class graduation dresses.’

By harnessing the power of big data businesses can personalise the user journey from sign-up and their first order, throughout the entire relationship and adapt alongside their consumers’ ever-changing needs. Real and effective personalised marketing isn’t just about offering a half price sofa to a potential customer, it’s about offering a twenty-something potential customer a half price sofa just after they’ve moved into their first home.

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Author: James Blake
CEO and Founder at Hello Soda
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