‘Just Crazy Enough to Work’ Ideas for Leveraging Marketing Data

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    Capitalizing on Big Data: Analytics with a Purpose

    Gartner analyst Laura McClellan shocked us all in 2012 by predicting that the CMO’s technology budget would outstrip the CIO’s IT budget by 2017. And indeed, marketing departments have picked up technology spending on analytics and data initiatives.

    Now: If only they knew what to do with it.

    Veteran marketer Dr. Lauren Tucker takes a look at marketing’s view on data in a recent Information Management column and concludes that they really don’t know what to do with any of it – big or small.

    “A cursory review of marketer surveys during the last two years makes it clear most companies really don’t know what big data is or what to do with the data they collect,” Tucker states. “More importantly, they don’t understand how to apply insights from their own transactional and customer data, small data if you will, to the big, strategic solutions that will grow their business.”

    It seems marketing is building a Field of Dreams, but no one knows the game.

    That brings us to “just crazy enough to work” idea number one: CIOs step up to the plate and work with CMOs.

    IT Business Edge’s Don Tennant recently spoke with Bonnie Crater, president and CEO of marketing analytics firm Full Circle CRM. Crater says CMOs are already affecting technology spending, but can benefit from IT’s experience with integration and security.

    I may be biased, but tighter collaboration between CMOs and CIOs seems like the obvious best first step to me. In addition to experience with data and system integration, IT also has more experience with data and reporting tools. Marketing would be well-advised to learn from IT’s hard-earned missteps and best practices.

    Tucker also suggests that marketing folks slow down, try technology before they buy (again, the CIO could’ve told them that!), and focus on small data first. It’s hard to argue with that because it’s pretty solid, basic advice.

    What about Big Data and analytics? Well, as it turns out, early adopters may be getting it wrong anyway. In a recent Venture Beat column, Adobe Evangelist for Customer Analytics Brent Dykes suggests that data-driven marketing campaigns are coming off as a bit, well… stalker-like.


    “The lack of transparency in these data-driven marketing scenarios has contributed to the sense that consumers are being stalked by companies,” Dykes writes. “It has inadvertently introduced an unwanted creepiness factor between brands and their customers.”

    Dykes then makes a suggestion that goes against every impulse that marketing folks will have, but, hey, that’s why it’s just crazy enough to work idea number two.

    Dykes suggest that organizations stop stalking customers by allowing customer data to flow in both directions. In other words: Use your data to give customers new insights about their lives, how they use the technology, and — gasp — how they can optimize their use and benefit more from your business.

    “As data becomes more pervasive, a healthy data loop with brands will be expected and rewarded by increasingly data-savvy consumers,” he suggests. “It’s no longer just about how your company can extract valuable insights from your customer data, but how the data can create value for your customers.”

    His idea goes much further than the typical advice to understand buying decisions so you can customize the upsell. As a consumer, I have to admit, I like it much more.

    Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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