In his new book, How to Create a Mind, technologist Ray Kurzweil estimates that a human brain can recognize 100,000 patterns. But consumers are producing a huge amount of information by the minute & our minds may just not be fast enough. “Big data” is what they call this data deluge & it has become the sexiest word in business in a very short time.
I wrote about this earlier & made the point that the current data situation for most companies is like having sections of a jigsaw puzzle in different rooms, but the puzzle keeps growing without a “puzzle master” integrating all this. The analyst, like the “ring master”, is really the “puzzle master” here & she needs to think very differently to do this. We don’t need more data; we need the correct interrelationships between data to be established & then we need “Big execution commitment” to make the data matter, by bringing decisions closer to the front end of every business.
You can read my earlier post here:Big data is puzzling
But clearly Big data is creating a discontinuity in the market place! Estimates suggest that more than a zettabyte (that’s a 1 followed by 21 zeroes) of information now circulates around the internet. Most minds will need help before they can analyse this massive stream of information, likened to drinking from a firehose! Darian Shirazi, founder of Radius Intelligence Inc., calls this a problem of "haystacks without needles." Companies too often "don't know what they're looking for, because they think big data will solve the problem," he says. So Analysts will have to treat "Big data" differently & overcome a set of issues before being able to leverage it.
And of course there is also a Dark side to "Big Data". Some of the initiatives out of Big data are downright scary:
1. If I keep my meeting schedule in a Google calendar & get an external feed of traffic conditions, shouldn’t my phone tell me when to leave for my next meeting? (Check! – get Google Now).
2. Progressive, a insurance company, is one example of a company using big data projects to transform their business. Using detailed information about customers' driving habits, the insurer has created a usage-based model that defines a policy's price down to the individual. Progressive gets the data through a device a driver plugs into a car's diagnostic port, according to its website. It can track how often customers slam on their brakes, drive late at night and other possibly risky driving habits. If the data shows a customer is driving safely, they can get significant discounts on their insurance.
Big data is so sexy & the hype of inflated expectations is so high that its about time we started seeing results. I am planning to look at Big data across a range of industries...here is the first one-Big data & the media world!
Media companies have such a huge treasure trove of data. Imagine if Times of India, Forbes or The Wall street Journal were to put together a “one view” of its readers & actually get to know the households that it delivers to each morning at a personal level. Some 80 percent of what can be considered Big data is unstructured or semi-structured information. This is where Media companies have masses of information & they can use their information to make more effective decisions in their business of journalism.
Kenneth Neil Cukier is the Data Editor of The Economist. He argues that having access to vast amounts of data will soon overwhelm our natural human tendency to look for correlation and causality where there is none. In the near future, we’ll be able to rely on much larger pools of “messy” data rather than small pools of “clean” data to get more accurate answers to our questions.
Cukier says something very interesting: “When we teach journalism in the future, we’re not just going to teach people the fundamentals of how to do an interview, or what a lede paragraph is. We’re going to tell people how to interview databases. And also, just as we train journalists by telling them that sometimes people that we interview are unfaithful and lie, we’re going to have to teach them to be suspicious of the data, because sometimes the data lies, too. You have to bring the same scrutiny as in the analog world — talking to people and observing — to the data as well.”
The Financial Times have been an interesting case study in the paywall debate & they are huge users of data. They've had their metered paywall approach for several years, but they are often regarded as an exception because of the specialist nature of the information they communicate. Estimates for Feb 2013 suggest: 286,000 print subscribers and 316,000 digital subscribers — the first newspaper to see digital surpass print. They are probably amongst a few Media companies that boast of a large analytically savvy team. The data team has about 30 people, organized into three groups: Data Analytics & Campaigns, Data Product Development, and Data Technology
The FT, by requiring sign-in to access even the free content, has had years to build up a massive database of users – and any free user is a potential subscriber. Using analytics to target the tipping point where people might begin to pay for the product is a smart move. Since enforcing on-site registration, the FT has gathered not only a vast amount of data about who its readers are and how to sell subscriptions and ads to them — the paper also knows a good deal about what they read and when, as well as the kinds of editorial products that appeal to them.
Read more about FT at Data led marketing at Financial Times
Watching TV with a laptop, smartphone, or tablet in hand is becoming more visible in many households. At one level this is impacting viewership of TV & at the same time this is great news for advertisers and programmers looking to engage viewers. Content can flow seamlessly across screens to enrich programming content and strengthen advertising messages. This needs very different kind of thinking from Marketers.
In a new study,co-released by Google and Ipsos ,it was revealed that Indians even outpace Americans when it comes to several mobile device metrics. For example, 56 percent of Indian smartphone users access the web multiple times per day, compared with just 53 percent of Americans who do so. And when it comes to social media, the disparity is even greater: 76 percent of Indians check sites like Facebook and Twitter on their mobile devices, an almost 25 percent higher rate than their American counterparts. In the U.S., the rate of those who said they “never” used their smartphones for internet purposes is more than double that in India.
Google's study, “The New Multi-screen World” (Aug 2012), looks at interesting consumer behaviour which takes them across multiple screens-the TV has competition!
The study provided some key takeaways:
- We are multi-screeners: Most of our time is spent in front of a screen, be it the PC, smartphone, tablet or TV.The device we choose is often driven by our context of where we are, what we want to accomplish and the amount of time needed.
- There are two main modes of multi-screening: Sequential screening, where we move from one device to the next, and simultaneous screening, where we use multiple devices at the same time.TV no longer commands our full attention as it becomes one of the most common devices used simultaneously with other screens. Portable screens allow us to move easily from one device to another to achieve a task, with Search being the most common bridge between devices in this sequential usage.Multiple screens make us feel more efficient because we can act spontaneously and get a sense of accomplishment, which results in a feeling of “found time”.
Implications for Marketers:
- Welcome to the era of Digital intelligence. Analytics for measuring multiple device consumption is a must! Firms require analytics that deliver visibility to the devices, locations, technologies, and usage patterns that characterize multi device Internet access.
- Constantly testing different campaigns to create feedback loop to improve results. Thinking 1 to 1 vs Mass marketing is key to enagaging with this fragmented consumer.
- Making money from audio, video & repurposing content across different screens. Huge implications for Media companies who can drive personalised content in interesting ways to individual audiences. Consumers who use media brands via online video and multi-screen consumers will tend to be the most engaged and loyal brand consumers
- optimize your content for multiple devices. Consumers are increasingly accessing multiple screens in their day-to-day lives. It's no longer enough to optimize your content for PCs/laptops. Mobile optimization on tablets and smartphones should also be a priority.
A few days back,The Reserve Bank of India removed the ceiling of Rs. 50,000 per customer per day mandated in 2009 under the guidelines on mobile banking. Banks are now free to place per transaction limits based on their own risk perception with the approval of its Board.
India has 700 million+ mobile subscribers, just 240 million individuals with bank accounts, 20 million credit cards, 88,000 bank branches, and 70,000 ATMs. Of the households without a bank account, 42 percent have at least one mobile phone. Mobile banking could be a game changer. Today, India already has 149 million mobile data users, approximately 60 million 3G handsets and a broadband penetration of only one percent. According to Informate Mobile Intelligence, three out of four current GPRS users in the country would like to use 3G services in the future and close to 63 percent of mobile users in the 25-30 age group are “very likely” to use it in near future.
However, just five percent of mobile phone subscribers are registered for the service and of them, a tiny 0.5 percent use it regularly, according to the Business Standard financial daily, quoting industry estimates. It is estimated that 680,000 transactions worth Rs 61 Crore rupees (US$13.55 million) are conducted every month.
In 2010-11, the number of transactions through mobile channels grew 300% to 9.6 million from 2.32 million in 2009-10. The value grew to Rs780 crore in 2010-11 as against Rs190 crore in the previous year.
A study by IMRB and IAMAI suggests that there are only about 2 million users accessing Internet through their mobile phones and other mobile devices on an active basis, which means they use Internet on their Mobile at least once a month. As per the study, 27% mobile phones are Internet ready (127 million mobile subscribers out of 471 million total subscribers) and out of these 127 million subscribers, only 12 million have used Mobile Internet. And this number further reduces down to 2 million or 17% when it comes to active users
Some points to consider:
- Should banks be considering mobile banking as an independent product strategy? Isn’t it far more important to have a digital leg for every Retail product? In fact banks must look at the mobile device as an extension of a bank’s multichannel delivery strategy. The idea is to look at Mobile & Internet in a context far larger than pure Cost reductions, rather see these digital channels as game changers!
- How can banks utilize the value of mobility to reach new customer segments? Given the compelling younger consumer demographic in India, can the Mobile be a significant route to get traction amongst younger consumers.
- Analytics can play an interesting role here to find technology savvy consumers amongst the bank’s consumer franchise! Customers leave behind footprints of data that potentially can be mined to be able to slot customers into distinct segments. Segmenting the bank’s customer base to identify “digital consumers” is important & then bank’s must follow through with a whole range of initiatives that allow these customers to engage differently with the bank.
Most often hospitality industry talk a lot about customer service at the property as a key differentiator to customer experience & satisfaction.
I believe this is not the case and most often, it starts with even before the customer visits the hotel or the restaurant of choice. Also, there are many a times, the post usage experience is forgotten and very rarely have I ever seen any credible data-led customer marketing intiatives in this phase.
It was interesting to see Intercontinental Hotels do very interesting customer marketing work in this area. Here are some interesting facts:
- Intercontinental Hotel Group’s (IHG’s) uses of data-driven marketing to improve communications with existing customers and prospects is an interesting case study for many hotel groups across the world.
Lincoln Barrett, vice president for guest marketing and alliances, shared that, for IHG, building a customer-centric marketing strategy is based on 3 Key pillars:
- Invest in technology
- Expand into new frontiers
- Build a centralized customer organization
She was talking at the UNICA Marketing Innovation Summit in Orlando.
- She talked about the need for real-time data mart that would allow IHG to match the data it was gathering through proprietary and third-party sources to existing customer information.
- According to her this step also made it possible to gain immediate access to data for analysis or campaign building purposes – a significant upgrade to IHG's previous functionality, which updated records in batches and only made data available some 30 days after a customer incident (like a hotel stay).
- She talked about some interesting trends in hospitality Marketing - Right Time marketing, Channel Synergy, Glocal Communication, Non-member marketing etc.
With digital marketing taking centrestage, it time to reassess and evaluate age-old marketing techniques and adapt them to new digital world. Here's how Domino's Pizza is doing it.
Domino's Pizza is using the persuasive power of socially connected consumers who have huge influence over each other; the key idea here is how they harness that power and put it to work for thier brand—with rewards, of course, for the consumers in question.
Domino's Pizza has developed a widget that consumers can place on their social networking profile, blog or other online presence, which their friends can then click on in order to order a pizza. For every order, they get 0.5 percent of the sale.
Read more here
A new research report by data managers, CDMS, into total campaign management outsourcing amongst top UK Companies shows that a total of 42% UK Companies outsource their Direct Marketing Campaign Management. With companies realising the benefits of outsourcing marketing to experts their ROI calculations are rising from the piles.
Marketing is possibly amongst the last areas in the corporate world to really embrace automation. Possibly it has been driven too much by "right brained" creative persuits and it is only now that "left brain" orientation is making Marketing a far more number driven discipline. Technology allows marketers to start engaging with their customers in previously unthought of ways. It allows marketers to move from the world of "push marketing" to the unexplored territory of "pull marketing" through the use of customer data which allows marketing action to become far more relevant. However all this transfoms marketing into a process discipline where it is critical to become process focussed. How do marketers go about bringing automation into the Marketing function? Where should you start? Here is an interesting paper by Bruce Biegel of the Winterberry group which provides insights into the state of marketing automation and also provides guidance on what prospective buyers of Marketing automation technology should look for -check it out! Marketing Automation