While big data has grabbed the attention of organisations worldwide, CMOs and CIOs are struggling to understand the full benefits it has to offer and implement that variety of purported benefits. This, complemented by an array of new technology, techniques and vendors on the big data scene, has left the c-suite with more questions than answers.
However, more than 60 per cent of Australian business leaders stated that “Improving insights about customers” are big data's key advantages in the BigInsights BigData Study 2013 survey report. Big data projects also provides an opportunity to strengthen the CMO/CIO relationship and for the CMO to show leadership across the organisation.
While some of underlying big data technology is new, the basic goals have not changed for marketers. The big data journey starts with what we at BigInsights call a 720-degree view of the customer. This 720-degree view of the customer includes all internal available information complemented with externally available information. It enables companies to gain insights into the likes, dislikes, buying patterns and behaviours of not only the customer, but also their friends and social circle.
The ultimate objective is to hyper personalise communication and products towards whatever is attractive and interesting to each of your customers.
We see seven steps to creating a customer-centric big data plan:
A strong partnership between the CMO and CIO is another imperative to make these projects a success. Building a collaborative and cross functional team that is customer/business savvy, has ‘data science’ skills, traditional IT infrastructure and data integration skills, is critical.
While it is important for early projects to show business value, initially there is the need for experimentation to understand the insight available within the available data and how to best build predictive models based on it. A process similar to the A/B testing and iterative refinement used in modern online marketing.
There may be a temptation to outsource work to digital agencies due to a lack of IT skills in marketing organisations. However, experience has shown successful projects require deep customer/business insights, development and integration effort with internal data sources which if difficult to outsource.
The significant innovation and competitive differentiation big data can bring to the organisation from a tactical and strategic perspective make it hard to ignore. Perhaps it is time to have regular coffee meetings with the CIO.(This article first appeared in CMO)