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Big Data Marketing Is No Longer A Gamble

YouMon TsangBy You Mon Tsang, CMO, Vocus

In the gambling world, handicapping is a science. The best prognosticators compile endless results, statistics and outside factors to determine the outcome of a game that is yet to take place.

But despite meticulous care and understanding, even the best predictions often fall short of expectations. Hence the fact that no one had a perfect March Madness bracket. Marketing campaigns, despite the same level of research, are also subject to this fate.

YouMon TsangBy You Mon Tsang, CMO, Vocus

In the gambling world, handicapping is a science. The best prognosticators compile endless results, statistics and outside factors to determine the outcome of a game that is yet to take place.

But despite meticulous care and understanding, even the best predictions often fall short of expectations. Hence the fact that no one had a perfect March Madness bracket. Marketing campaigns, despite the same level of research, are also subject to this fate.

Luckily for marketers, the odds are beginning to change thanks to Big Data. Last year, Big Data began to emerge beyond proof of concept and started to lose its “buzzword” status as an overhyped technology. Now, companies use Big Data’s predictive analysis capabilities to get ahead of their competition, enabling marketers to accurately predict customer’s next moves, deliver more targeted content and accurately segment audiences. This results in increased sales, ROI and engagement.

The most encouraging statistic is that any business can be successful in marketing to its audiences by investing in the data that they create every day. Whether you focus on B2B or B2C, the formula is essentially the same. Evaluate historical data, trends and usage, and you’ll understand how customers want to use your product or service. Here are three examples of companies having success with Big Data programs:

1. Create A New Market Out Of  Your Old One

House of Cards has stormed Netflix queues and established a flagship show for the streaming video company. Here’s the plot twist: The program was created through Big Data analysis.

The company analyzed viewer habits to determine what would create a breakout hit. By reviewing user data, Netflix recognized a correlation between viewers who watched the original BBC version of House of Cards, actor Kevin Spacey, and director David Fincher. Before a single viewer streamed episode one, Netflix was certain that an audience for the show existed. Months later, a hit show was born and millions of viewers were introduced to binge streaming.

2. Generate Upsell Opportunities

Do you think Rent the Runway succeeds solely on educated guesses about the next big trends in fashion? They don’t! Data plays a large role in the high-end clothing rental site’s success.

Its data showed that 25% of customers added an accessory to their purchases, which inspired the company to create a lucrative upsell program.

Rent the Runway also found that women are 200% more likely to rent after seeing clothes on a real woman as opposed to a model, so they created their own search engine to locate user-generated content.

3. Understand Customer Motivation

Millions of people play Call of Duty online, and the game’s creator Electronic Arts (EA) is taking the opportunities afford by Big Data to learn more about its users.

EA tracks players from their first missions until the console is turned off, and they use that data to deduce why and how people play the game. Knowing players’motivation allows EA to instantly create a better customer experience. The company analyzes current and historical user data to align a gamer’s in-game experience to their skill set. This means that similarly skilled players are paired in the game to create an environment that will keep them engaged and playing.

Now that initial success with Big Data’s predictive analysis capabilities has been realized, more marketers are taking notice. A recent survey from predictive marketing company AgilOne showed that mid-market businesses warmed up to Big Data last year and will embrace it more in 2014. Now is the time to stop leaving marketing to chance and place your bets on your data’s predictive capabilities.

You Mon Tsang is responsible for driving global product vision and building Vocus’ brand in the marketplace. Prior to Vocus, Tsang was CEO of Engine140, a company Vocus acquired and subsequently integrated into its product portfolio.