Three Data Analytics Trends That Will Impact Your Marketing Plan
Companies are under pressure to achieve organic growth and profitability. The hope is that the discovery of key data relationships within the firm will yield that return. But it’s possible that those data relationships aren’t the best ones to pursue or that those apparent relationships weren’t statistically sound.
A Fortune 500 chief strategy officer recently told me that his company will emphasize data science over data infrastructure this year.
The CEO of a major communications firm told me he directed the company to invest a great deal in big data—database integration and tools to mine the important relationships within that data—but he hasn’t seen the results just yet.
One recent survey states that three-quarters of analytics executives are reporting less than 1% ROI from their big data projects.
Data Science Over Data Infrastructure
We are seeing the conclusion of the “big data 1.0” era, which I’d classify as the first stage of the gold rush. Companies are under pressure to achieve organic growth and profitability. The hope is that the discovery of key data relationships within the firm will yield that return. But it’s possible that those data relationships aren’t the best ones to pursue or that those apparent relationships weren’t statistically sound.
The gold rush analogy is apropos. Once word gets out that “there’s gold in them thar hills,” crowds arrive armed with shovels, pickaxes, and all the accouterments to support the boomtowns—but some will become ghosts, as claims dry up or never materialize. Attention then turns to those who succeeded in learning more about and applying the means of their success. Essentially, a level of professionalization occurs. That’s what we’re going through right now.
CMOs would do well to follow that Fortune 500 CSO’s lead: data science over data infrastructure, employing serious math to guide the CMO to the most impactful marketing data relationships, and enabling a more surgical approach to associated technology investment.
An Increasingly Dynamic (Marketing) World
A number of trends are now converging to make the provision of dynamic offerings possible. Leveraging the mobile platform and communicating with it is becoming more of the norm than the exception. Technology companies are also making it easier for marketers to interact with and market to these mobile consumers while keeping their data secure and private. Further, though all consumers value security, the youngest generations are more inclined to trade their data privacy for convenience and value.
These events set 2016 up to be a year of growth in context-specific marketing opportunities. One great example of this is the deployment of beacon technology, which provides CMOs with opportunities to craft and deliver time- and context-specific promotions directly to the consumer by pushing individual, dynamic pricing offers to customers as they arrive at or leave specific locations.
For example, beacons deployed at airline terminals will make customized offers to exchange airline miles or cash to auction off the last few first class or business class seats in real time (as the plane is boarding). Similarly, restaurants with perishable goods (think donut chains) may promote their availability at lower price points to passersby who subscribe to their beacons.
All of this requires customers to get comfortable with a new notion: increasing dynamism in offerings. Airlines are a great example of this. No one ever pays the same price for a seat on the plane, yet oddly, no one asks his seatmate whether he got a fairer price than his own. But now, products and services offered at dynamic prices and terms to different individuals, regardless of their participation in a loyalty program, will accelerate rapidly. Everything is dynamic all the time, just like the human condition. Ironically, real-time analytics technology can enable a company’s offerings to be more human.
IoT Gets Closer To Reality
Another trend we can expect to see this year involves the Internet of Things (IoT). You’re probably thinking, “It feels like IoT has been on the trend list for years. Why will this year be different?”
These days, computers and mobile devices aren’t the only things with network connectivity. Smart products, such as TVs, cars, thermostats, motion-sensor lights, and even household appliances, are being designed to use data and a wireless Internet connection to complete automated tasks. If you’re not careful, you’ll soon own a refrigerator that prepares the meal plan for the night and orders the necessary staples to deliver on it. Let’s just hope it still knows how to keep it fresh!
But we’ve heard these “Jetsons” types of stories before. Why is the future taking so long? It goes back to the security issue again. Who do you want to be the trustee of your data? The company that manufactured the device or appliance? The retailer who sold it to you? The government? All of these entities have proven fallible when it comes to data security, so the answer is likely “no.” Millennials, who are less concerned about data privacy than others, aren’t the majority of the market yet, and we just haven’t found a satisfactory data trustee for the rest of us.
IoT technologists are hard at work on the issue via distributed data security frameworks. Think Bitcoin or iPhones. Only one copy of the passcode exists, and it’s on the mobile device without a centralized record. The user’s memory is the only other record. Enabling cybersecure sensors in this simple way is the linchpin of IoT opportunity.
From a real-time analytics standpoint, the IoT offers more insight into consumers’ everyday behaviors. With so many smart devices sending data back and forth to one another comes a growing need to collect that data, store it, and analyze it. For example, companies will now have immediate access to real-time product utilization information, such as how often consumers use the coffee machines and other appliances in their homes or, more dramatically, where, how, and when they spend most of their time outside of the workplace.
Of course, the more connected devices are, the more invasive it may feel to consumers’ privacy. Offering early adopters a sense of security so it doesn’t look like a battle between man and machine (or man and corporation) could help mitigate this problem.
See what the Twitterverse is saying about big data: