I recently enjoyed a column on CMO.com entitled “For CMOs, ‘Big Data’ Is A Very Big Deal.” It was penned by Alfredo Gangotena, CMO of MasterCard.
In the column, Gangotena espouses the exciting future of data analytics on a scale so grand I imagine his team could tweet ”bless you” before their credit card user sneezed. Yes, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the point of Gangotena’s post really hit home to me as I considered our future here at Luckie & Company with the recent acquisition of Atlanta-based data analytics firm Integrative Logic.
Integrative Logic has a great track record of using data – including customer, transactions, behavior, third-party, industry, and more – to do exactly the things MasterCard is doing. But IL is doing those very things in a far more nimble and efficient way. Thanks to their efforts, marketers of almost any size can receive the benefits of Big Data in their marketing mix.
Combine that with Luckie’s expertise in crafting great brand stories that engage, entertain, and sell, and you’ve got a powerful, almost unfair advantage over your competition. As our clients have told us, executing against insights from business intelligence allows a business to alter their competitive landscape and achieve an advantage.
The advantages I once thought only marketing giants like MasterCard and Amazon enjoyed are no longer the case. Gangotena is right – Big Data can deliver the answers to so many of the questions marketers of all sizes are asking: “A detailed understanding of aggregate anonymous customer behavior by channel, geography, and season can help inform both long-term business strategies and short-term decisions about marketing and merchandising: when and how to ramp up, and when to play defense.”
Put away the Ouija board: Imagine after building strong brand affinity, being able to tell how much your consumer is spending, where they spend, when they are likely to spend, and multiple other factors that play into the purchase decisions. Add to that the knowledge of online and offline spending patterns and the sentiment of your customer if it’s shared across the social network.
Armed with that knowledge, the decisions we make rise to a whole new level of accuracy, confidence, and specificity. It will no longer be based on best guesses about the customer but rather by real behaviors of the customer. In essence, they will tell you when, where and how. You simply need to be there to facilitate a great brand experience around the order.
For example, with the holidays quickly approaching, Bon-Ton wanted a marketing program to support chain-wide promotions, increase brand awareness and drive customer acquisition developed in less than a month.
Our strategy: build and launch an interactive “Holiday Hub” for each of the seven Bon-Ton nameplates — Bon-Ton, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger’s and Younkers — to support featured and ongoing promotions, viral referral and data capture. Elements included a holiday blog, wish list and referral emails. The result: More than 20,000 coupons downloaded, more than 20,000 names and addresses collected, more than 15,000 email opt ins, and a 13% increase in same store sales.
Still not convinced? Here’s another example: Marriott’s Caribbean and Mexico resort cluster needed help developing an integrated marketing plan to build stronger, more profitable relationships; increase frequency and monetary value of each resort visit; and efficiently capture and process cluster-wide customer data.
Our strategy: leverage Big Data analytics to provide a single customer view across multiple locations and amenity selections and inform a relationship management program that uses lifestyle and purchase behavior to drive one-to-one communications. Integrate across channel to ensure consistent brand message that resonates with core groups and emerging opportunity segments, increasing sales, market share and advocacy through targeted cultivation paths. The result: above-average email deliverability, 300% growth in database and 12% conversion rate, not to mention the recognition as Partner of the Year.
I hope you can appreciate my excitement when considering the possibilities that this Big Data approach holds for any marketing challenge. When I speak to fellow CMOs, I hear of the desire for a powerful umbrella brand that drives all the moving parts in the marketing mix. When we talk about how that great brand idea will drive consumers into the funnel and then move them to intent, purchase, repeat and advocate, they sigh. That conversation leaves them coveting the resources, know-how and budget of a giant like MasterCard.
Now I can tell them confidently that we can craft a powerful brand story to bring more consumers into consideration and then apply Big Data tools to sharpen the strategy and execute the tactics that will result in more – however “more” is defined.
Not only can we drive more than 1 million Facebook fans, we can also turn those fans into loyal customers who share their delight with friends. Not only can we deliver 1 million new checking accounts but we can also retain, upsell, and cross sell those customers in ways they find real value. Not only can we put more heads into hotel beds but we can also decrease the look-to-book time – at the same time. The possibilities for our clients, now that Integrative Logic is a part of our arsenal, should be very scary to their competitors.