Data is everywhere. It’s collected from our phones, our desktops and our television, and it offers insights into consumption and purchasing habits like how we eat, travel, browse, watch and buy. For marketers, the goal is to analyze and leverage these massive amounts of data to avoid customer frustration over irrelevant content and ads and create a tailored experience compatible with their actual needs.
But in order for brands to cut through the noise and stay relevant in a world where personalization is not just the norm, but also expected, they’ll have to learn to differentiate between the data available to them and what is actually valuable to the business.
The commoditization of data
Brands who built their businesses on data used to stand out, but now they are struggling to compete in an oversaturated market. With a wealth of data at their fingertips, the key for marketers is understanding which data will make a difference and give the fullest picture of the customer in real-time, while filtering out the data that is unrelated to the business.
By taking a more strategic approach to data gathering, brands can combine different forms of data to make for a compelling marketing proposition. This might mean relying less on surface data like social media or responses to a survey questionnaire and taking a closer look at raw mobile data to have a more insightful idea of the customer. In a world where data rules, the savviest marketers will learn how to combine rich insights like location data with other observed data to stand out among the competition.
So how do we turn this seemingly excessive data into intelligence?
The answer lies in finding data that speaks to something actionable and isn’t just another data point. And as consumer habits quickly evolve and shift, it’s no surprise that marketers have been left scrambling to take advantage of the data they have on them to adapt their strategies and create a more tailored, seamless shopping experience.
This is not a one-size-fits all approach to understanding the customer. Sometimes declared data (or what a customer says in surveys or focus groups) does not match up with observed data (such as location data or purchasing data) – that which enables marketers to truly understand consumers over time based on real-world behavior. Just because an individual is browsing online or liking an item on social media, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll find that product in their closet. And when customers fill out surveys, there’s always the risk that they might not feel entirely comfortable giving honest answers or they may be in a rush to finish, affecting reliability.
There is a real value in location data for these scenarios – marketers can observe changing foot traffic patterns, where consumers are going more often and, furthermore, the marketing tactics that are drawing them there. Combining both observed and declared data, however, is the only way for brands to access the most all-encompassing look into their consumer.
The ability to connect different data sets in a way that aligns with actual consumer behavior is important. Key to this is location data, combined with other forms of data to help marketers stand out against competitors. In order to distinguish themselves, brands and marketers will need to understand how to:
- Parse through the data for the insights that can be turned into actionable intelligence
- Differentiate between declared and observed data, and use a combination of both
- Adapt and evolve marketing strategies to changing consumer behaviors
Ultimately, if marketers and brands want to make the best use of the growing volume of data available, they’ll need to be more selective. This will optimize the use of insights and enable businesses to put dollars behind data sources they know will yield the best results.