With technology as it is now, and its ubiquitous use occurring at every level of both business and personal day-to-day living, data is pouring in from everywhere. Mobile devices, social media, smart technologies, the list is endless and the quantity is huge. But that’s just B to C, we hear you say. Not any more…
Yes, the B to C world has been making good use of big data for a while. What with loyalty schemes and targeted customer follow up, the likes of Amazon and Tesco have proven its value. But it needn’t just be for consumer based businesses. The B to B big boys are beginning to open their eyes to it too. They’re now seeing how it can inform future marketing plans. How it can keep a company ahead of its competition. Businesses keen to take their strategic planning further are no longer dismissing it lightly.
What is it about big data that makes such a difference?
Put crudely, big data is a stored record of millions of personal decisions. Whether your market is B to C, or B to B, it is still individuals who are making those small instant choices, based on personal taste, habits and activities. Decisions on what to follow on social media, what to click on the web, what to come back and read again. And you know what? It’s big data that holds this.
It stands to reason, therefore, that by using big data to see patterns of personal decision making within a particular market subset, you can leap ahead of those competitors not yet bothering. The insight you gain from making use of this valuable resource is phenomenal.
What is it about big data that makes it different?
One of the key facets of big data is that it’s collected on a grand scale and not cherry picked for specifics. Previously, organisational data collection tended to be instigated by individual departments, with a particular information requirement in mind. This, in reality, skewed the data that was collected. It was still useful. But the picture that big data presents, however, offers so much more detail via previously unexplored associations etc.
A company that is collecting big data now will often do so almost regardless of departmental focus. The information is hoovered up and then made available for analysis in a multitude of ways. Fascinating links and trends can now be spotted that had never appeared before. And this isn’t because they had not existed before, but simply because a wider base of information is now available.
Big data analytics are bringing big data sets together in a totally new way. Algorithms are punching through the information in no time at all and presenting the output as meaningful statistics which are of tremendous value to the keen marketer. And companies making use of the results are catapulting themselves ahead of the rest.
Improving the accuracy of predictions
Imagine understanding enough about your customers to be able to predict future buying behaviour. It’s not a dream if you have big data to hand. Predictive modelling has now become common practice in certain businesses. Spotting time wasters early on, and improving the chances of the outcome you’re looking for elsewhere, not only makes a marketing campaign more cost-effective, it makes it possible to increase your market share of what is fast becoming a fickle customer base.
What do you need to do to incorporate big data within your strategic planning?
Before you do anything else, speak to specialists who work with big data every day. It’s a big wheel, and it’s a newish wheel, but it doesn’t need reinventing. Take advice. Discuss your strategic planning requirements. Relieve the pressure of tackling a new concept by working with people who already know it well.
Then, plan for facilitating change throughout your organisation. Processes will shift. Previously entrenched expectations will need to be rewired. It will be necessary for the equivalent of organisational NLP to take place. But it’s not as hard a sell as you might think. Yes, there may be a requirement for some investment of time and energy, and there will also probably need to be investment in IT infrastructure too. But the statistics are there now to prove the benefits. Those businesses that have already embraced big data have seen a transformation to their bottom line. It’s a win/win for everyone.
If you’d like to understand more about how big data can make an exponential difference to your strategic planning, then come and talk to us. We’d be delighted to help you take this important step forwards.