Gauteng Business News

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MARKETING: Big Data - the Foundation Of Successful Online Marketing


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The world of eCommerce and online business is a highly pressurised market. The need for 24/7 operations, an environment of global competition, and customers who are both price sensitive and incredibly vocal, make for a challenging business landscape. Standing out from the crowd and ensuring customers are attracted to your website rather than the rivals requires ‘top of mind’ recall and a better customer experience. Achieving this requires a fine balancing act, ensuring your marketing mix is optimised across channels to drive the conversion from click through to sales. Furthermore, it is important to leverage customer data intelligently to target marketing initiatives effectively across different channels. Big data holds the key to unlocking valuable customer insight that can turbocharge online marketing efforts, improving sales, optimising customer relationships, and obtaining more bang for your marketing buck says y Shailendra Singh, Business Director of Africa Region, Wipro Ltd, South Africa

Marketing an online business can be a complex process. Budget must be carefully spread between ‘paid media’ such as search engines, banners and so on; ‘earned media like social media sites; and of course your company’s own website. The website is a crucial component as it is in effect your store front and the face of your company Juggling this combination of internal and external forces requires sound investment decisions, and getting the right marketing mix across media, channel and customer segments is a challenging task.

This marketing challenge is made all the more complex by the veritable deluge of data that most online businesses need to manage. Although a website is the portal for online business, customers interact with a brand across multiple channels, from click streams to social media, contact centres, surveys, mobile devices and more. Matching of the right offering to the right customer through the right channel is essential to marketing success. However, a lack of actionable insight can hinder marketing initiatives. Without this, it is difficult to understand whether marketing spend is invested correctly or whether marketing efforts are targeted accurately at high value or high potential customer segments.

Traditional methods of segmenting customers and executing campaigns rely heavily on manual methods and pre-determined rules that fail to take into account the dynamic nature of the online world. As a result of this cumbersome manual process, by the time campaigns are built and targeted, opportunities are often long gone. Real-time analytics, effective customer segmentation and advanced targeting are essential in matching supply to demand, boosting conversion rates and improving marketing success. In addition, tapping into the vast resource through Big Data can help online businesses to improve analytical capability, optimise marketing spend and drive more valuable customers over their lifecycle.

Data generated from channels such as email, social media, video, audio, images, documents and records, collectively referred to as ‘human information’ in the context of Big Data, holds enormous value for the business that is able to unlock it. It contains a vast amount of intelligence that provides great potential for real-time analytics in order to gain insights, which can be then utilised for engaging and improving online customer experiences.

Obtaining contextually relevant information from the analysis of unstructured human information is key in engaging the customer on their terms, delivering the right offer at the right time through the right channel to drive improved sales. In addition, insights gathered can be used to enhance customer retention, customer margins and new customer acquisition processes, all of which can help to boost customer profitability and value over their lifetime.

Improving a company’s Return on Marketing Investment (RoMI) in a digital world requires marketers to leverage data, analytics and innovative marketing methodologies to improve click through to conversion, and in turn enhance customer profitability. The goal is to move from a descriptive model, where historical structured data is used to determine what happened after the fact, to a predictive model where data is used to forecast what will happen, and on to the next level of marketing maturity: the adaptive stage. Adaptive marketing utilises real-time, large-scale data, both structured and unstructured, to determine what will happen not only in the near future, but in the long run. This enables enhanced product strategy and tactics, better and more dynamic customer segmentation, and an improved customer experience.

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