Insight/ Strategic Planning

5 Ways To Map Big Data To Business Goals


by Joe Cordo

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The idea of mapping Big Data to business goals is almost an oxymoron, isn’t it? After all, Big Data is an amorphous term and business goals are very real and specific. Get past the hyperbole, and you’ll see that Big Data for the marketer is really about customer interactions and behavior, often at the most minute level of detail. Moving customer interactions to buying behavior is what achieves business goals. Here are five ways to map Big Data to business goals:

1. Know The Business Goals Before You Know Your Data
It’s an obvious point, but too many marketing organizations assume they know what their goals are. The reality is that once you start leveraging Big Data, there will be many ways to use it to achieve goals. Beyond your growth goal, do you know what you need to achieve for growth to gain market share? Do you know what growth you’d like to achieve from existing buyers? Do you have upsell and cross-sell goals?

These are all starting points to formulate goals that will then lend a defined framework to structure and leverage how you use Big Data.

2. Define What Big Data Strategically Means To You
This is as much about having a Big Data plan as it is to really define Big Data. By most definitions, Big Data is about high volumes of data moving rapidly through your organization, from disparate online and offline sources, with the ability to change with time. It’s a very tall order to harness.

However, if you define Big Data strategically as needing to achieve a business goal of, for example, penetrating accounts by more than 30 percent in the next year, then you have the ability to map the kind of Big Data you need to achieve that goal. In this example, it could be a reliance on purchase history, customer service information, and Web site behavior.

Too often, marketers assume they need to support every conceivable data source to create a comprehensive customer profile to achieve their goals. Make Big Data manageable by starting with the data that will support the strategy to achieve your near-term business goals.

3. Transform Big Data Into Customer Intelligence
If you want to map Big Data to your business goals, then your data needs to be transformed into customer intelligence. The critical transformation step is creating the data structure of the customer profile based on the customer interactions and behavior that is represented from a wide variety of sources–Web, social, mobile, email, order history, purchase history, customer service, and sales interactions. With Big Data working within a framework that creates the structure of a customer profile, customer intelligence becomes the linchpin to map the data to the strategy to achieve the business goals.

For example, data on where, when, and how buyers are most likely to shop becomes a crucial piece of intelligence to drive offers to meet share-of-wallet goals. Taking customer intelligence to another level by identifying shopping variances associated with time and channel may lead to driving more aggressive offers for particular types of items. Harnessing Big Data through customer intelligence provides the opportunity to discover new ways to meet business goals.

4. Understand Your Customer’s Journey
Understanding your customer’s journey is about using customer intelligence as part of your integrated, multichannel campaigns at each stage of the customer life cycle. The goal here is to create actionable customer interaction profiles that you can use in your segmentation, and then drive messaging and offers at the right time and through the right channel to the customer. Here’s how:

  • Aggregate data from multiple online and offline sources, and be sure to evolve your data structure to include unstructured data–the kind that captures social media conversations
  • Store and manage all customer interaction profiles in an interactive multichannel marketing hub. Here the data can be much more easily analyzed and eventually pulled to drive campaigns that are integrated across multiple channels
  • Integrate an analytics engine with the marketing hub to analyze your data. Make it accessible to users in your organization for basic segmentation, but for more advanced analysis work with customer intelligence professionals or your marketing services provider
  • Implement a data strategy that means building your database with the kind of customer interactions that drive buying decisions. Build toward complex firmographic and demographic segmentation and profiling, involving appending, storing, and updating attribute data, while working directly with a data provider
  • If you are a B2B company, then create business rules to distribute campaign responses to sales or your indirect channels based on type of campaign, geography, product, partnership, or business unit

5. Create The Integrated Environment That Supports The Goal
It bears repeating. If you are a B2B marketer, then you need a truly closed loop marketing and sales system: one that drives multichannel marketing to new levels of revenue performance and includes a customer intelligence-based interactive marketing hub integrated with your sales and customer service environment. This provides sophisticated segmentation and profiling for every stage of the customer life cycle.

For B2C marketers, integrated environments that involve the customer intelligence-based interactive marketing hub, the Web and your e-commerce platform, social media, and customer service and order history are critical.

Your multichannel marketing campaigns will then optimize revenue performance at the right time with the right offer to the right customer. And you’ll have mapped Big Data, from a customer-centric perspective, to achieving your business goals.

About Joe Cordo

Joe Cordo is CMO of Extraprise, a provider of right-time revenue optimization for B2B and B2C enterprises, and database marketing and demand-generation services.