In 2014, 40 percent of U.S. marketing professionals said they increased spending on data-driven marketing. This statistic alone demonstrates a new kind of CMO–one who understands the importance of leveraging big data to achieve great results.
That said, with an exploding number of sources (Twitter, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, surveys, call centers, and more), it also can be difficult to extract actionable insight in an efficient manner.
Marketers are realizing that no one person can completely digest what is being said and translate that into key themes or actionable items. Take GE Healthcare, for example: The company (a Clarabridge client) received more than 100,000 pieces of customer feedback on just one product and calculated it would take two years for one person to review all of that feedback. The problem gets worse the more data you have, even if you have big team.
The good news is that with the right technology and big-data approach, CMOs can take mountains of data and translate them into digestible chunks and tangible results. Here are six ways big data can make you a better CMO.
1. Engage in customer-driven budgeting and campaigns: By collecting and integrating a wide variety of customer feedback sources, marketers can ensure their budgeting and campaigns are aligned with their customers’ needs. Big data can help shed light on problems customers are facing–perhaps they need guidance in terms of purchasing decisions–and, in turn, help you set aside budget to create materials to help solve those problems.
Similarly, big data can help you know whether your spend–be it for supporting materials or actual campaigns–is having the right impact. While many marketers are already using big data to track whether campaigns, such as a holiday coupon, are working in terms of sales, real success comes from taking it a step further and listening to customer sentiment. This allows them to fully understand the value of each initiative, and tailor the next initiative based on what the customers are saying.
2. Manage brand reputation: Marketers must constantly monitor what their customers are saying about them on a broader level, as well, in order to keep track of their brands’ overall reputation. For instance, if a retailer analyzes its customer feedback from social, survey, and employee notes and uncovers a high negative volume on a new return policy, it can immediately take action and adjust the policy. Then it must continue to monitor the data after the change has been made to make sure customer expectations have been met and brand reputation has been restored.
3. Creating better products: This kind of listening isn’t just about perception and reputation, though–it can also impact the products and services your company is offering. For instance, let’s say an initial product offering of an electrical device comes with the on/off power button located in the center, and many customers begin to complain about unwanted on/off situations. As a data-driven CMO, you are armed with this important information, can notify the product team, and help change the location of the on/off button to improve the product and customer experience.
With the increase of social media and customers expressing their frustration with products online, it’s now easier than ever to monitor these conversations and take action to ensure the product is providing the ease of use customers expect.
4. Spot a crisis early: Of course, for everything from products to distribution to marketing, the bottom line is that mistakes happen. CMOs don’t want to be the last to know what has impacted their brands to the point of negative discussion. Once again, big data can help. Marketers can make use of their customer feedback data in real time to spot patterns and see where they can prevent a crisis from occurring .
5. Connect to brand influencers: This is key to creating an ongoing relationship with influencers who can help to promote a brand. Through the use of data analytics, CMOs can see who speaks highly of their brands on a consistent basis and make sure they stay connected with them over time. With all of the social media tools on hand nowadays–Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+–marketers also want to make sure they have an internal engagement team set up to manage social media to provide support in real time and stay connected to their top customers.
6. Address new markets: Social media and review sites have all made it easier than ever before to size up the competition or an entire market to determine how to change your offering and where to invest in new ones. When marketers pair sound business metrics, such as valuations, stock price, and revenue, with consumer buzz and sentiment about products, they can help the C-suite determine where to invest next. With social analytics, due diligence is faster and easier than ever before. Besides, keep in mind that if you aren’t doing it, chances are your biggest competitors are already ahead of you.
All in all, data isn’t just about monitoring or metrics. When used properly, marketers can actually make changes that impact the customer directly–and help you, as CMO, serve up better results.