Tag: Reporting and analytics

Why adoption of Big Data Analytics is important more than ever in 2014

Big Data Analytics 2014

It’s nearly impossible to write a 2014 forecast on e-commerce without mentioning “big data”. While the term might be overused, its importance to e-commerce cannot be overstated.

Big Data and Analytics will evolve beyond segmentation for email lists. E-commerce merchants will collect and analyze data to discern shopping patterns that have predictive value and to understand consumer experiences in digital and physical contexts. Their users benefit from the digitally enhanced experience, and the data they create also provides usage insights that inform product design and e-commerce strategy.

The underlying tools for the management of this data will only grow smarter, faster and more affordable as companies catch up with an overabundance of data. Big Data Analytics should emerge in 2014 as not just a buzzy trend, but a core business practice that e-commerce firms use to understand their business and their customers in fundamentally new ways.

Big Data usually includes data sets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, curate, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time. Big data sizes are a constantly moving target, as of 2012 ranging from a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes of data in a single data set. This data is generated by any activity like page visit, login, transaction a customer does when he/she comes across your business. This data is gone already beyond our imaginations and the rate at which it’s growing will be huge challenge to handle.

Taming Big Data:

Big Data includes data sets whose size and type make them impractical to process and analyze traditional database technologies. The amount of data being generated is almost impossible to handle, therefore we need tools those can condense the data and intelligently present only what is relevant and contextual.

If we look at the numbers at which data is being generated, 2.7 Zetabytes of data exist in the digital universe today. Facebook stores, accesses, and analyzes 30+ Petabytes of user generated data. The rapid growth of unstructured data like YouTube users uploading 48 hours of new video every minute, roughly 175 million tweets every day on Twitter etc. may lead us to many questions about managing the big data and analyzing it.

According to the reports, Poor data across businesses and the government costs the U.S. economy $3.1 trillion dollars a year. Survey also reveals that poor data management or lack of data quality cited as main reason for overrunning project costs.

Key Facts about Big Data:

Despite industry hype, most organizations are yet to develop, implement or execute a Big Data strategy. The survey found that 12 percent of organizations are currently implementing or executing a big data strategy while 40% of them are still considering / exploring Big Data.

 

Fig 1 (Source – sas.com): Which of the following best describes your organization’s stage in using external big data to help make business decisions?

Capturing and Storing Is Only the Beginning

It’s true that big data has great potential for creating a more detailed model of the business, such as tracing a customer’s path through a store and analyzing post-sale sentiments expressed in social media to create better offers. But to date, there have been lots of talk about how it can be stored and captured and very little about the practical ways businesses can exploit it.

But storing and capturing big data won’t make it valuable. Additional tools are needed to explore and analyze it. As it turns out, the simplicity of Hadoop stops with capturing data. The real promise of big data is that it contains information that isn’t part of the typical well-structured view of the business world. It’s all about “not knowing what you don’t know.”

Making Big Data Relevant for Business Orders:

Measuring consumer sentiment, optimizing supply chains, detecting fraud – Big Data is powerful. But to harness that power, organizations must hire data scientists, craft complex algorithms, and make massive investments in infrastructure and software. That leaves business leaders and the IT professionals supporting them wondering: Is it possible to make Big Data useful for business users?

Data’s value can be unleashed for business users by condensing it and intelligently presenting only what is relevant and contextual to the problem at hand. For example, an executive might be interested in summary data across the company’s product lines, while a manager of a specific product or geography might need more detail, but only for the areas that he or she oversees.

More analytics, fewer Gut feelings:

Ecommerce companies will grow increasingly, focusing on data and willing to apply analytics-derived insights to key business operations. Intuitive decision-making will diminish somewhat as companies infuse analytics into everything that customer touch. Data analytics will be the driver for capturing more customers, upselling to existing customers and retaining them for the long term.

The need for automated tools will become increasingly critical.

It seems that the more data we have, the more we want“. But as data volumes increase, the need for pattern matching, simulation, and predictive analytics technologies become more crucial. Engines that can automatically sift through the growing mass of data, identify issues or opportunities, and even take automated action to capitalize on those findings will be a necessity.

An often overlooked benefit is an increase in the volume of analysis. After the process is automated, employees find out how easy it is to analyze the data. So they start doing it more frequently. Where before it was only done when absolutely necessary (if at all), now it becomes a routine part of their Jobs.

Offer Personalization and Customization:

Challenge your business to finally begin offering personalization and customization to both onsite and marketing creative. Work to apply analytics & segment marketing campaigns so that they address customers by name and with relevant products and offers that are based on an individual’s or group of shoppers’ stated preferences or on-site behavior.

Taking on this challenge means that the retailer’s marketing department will need to collect meaningful information about what interest shoppers and organize separate, custom campaigns around those interests.

Personalization and customization could be a significant competitive advantage in 2014.

Summary

Big data made substantial progress in 2013, especially with respect to business stakeholder engagement in the topic. But we have yet to drive widespread adoption of big data, especially from a business transformation perspective. 2014 seems like the right time to make that happen.

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Time for a direct connect

We are living in very uncertain times. The current economic climate is not one that marketers look forward to, considering most customers are quick to tighten their marketing budgets in a wavering economy. The last time we went through a tough economy, one of the first things that most business owners and marketers did was to cut marketing budgets. Resist the temptation! The biggest learning most CMOs would have had from the recession of 2009 is that companies which continued to invest in marketing effectively, survived and a few in fact grew. The key is that you invest in the right tools.

The digital medium is increasingly emerging as a popular tool, more so during tough times, thanks to a more tangible measurement metrics and higher accountability of results. Add to this, the rapid adoption of the internet extending to Tier II and Tier III cities in India as well, the digital medium is emerging to become one that marketers cannot afford to ignore any longer. India today is the third biggest internet market in terms of users, with over a 100 million internet user base. The time an average Indian spends online today is now on par with TV viewing time at 16 hours in a week. Information is now being democratised on the web, search is now a daily activity and email is part of the connective tissue, through which companies can collaborate with and engage their customers better.

Time for a direct connect

Advertising cutbacks hence is not affecting targeted marketing channels such as email marketing and other direct digital marketing channels such as mobile advertising. Marketers are building their customer lists, improving customer analysis and focusing on direct digital marketing (DDM) as a more intelligent and serious aspect of the overall marketing efforts. In turbulent times, it makes more financial sense than ever for companies to focus on marketing to their own customers and prospects. Marketers increasingly want to segment their audience and tie in their email activity with web analytics in an attempt to make communications as relevant as possible to the receiver.

The popularity of DDM is growing more than ever in India because it allows marketers to connect directly with their customers. By targeting specific demographics and studying the habits of your consumers, organizations can open a direct window into the needs of the market. In addition, by contacting each individual customer, marketers have a much greater opportunity to engage them in a discussion about what they require and how a specific product or service could help them do that.

The more closely you are able to follow the preferences of different groups of your customers within the target market, the better you will be able to convince them that you have a solution for them. Compared to traditional mass advertising efforts, email marketing also provides a shorter and easier path to ensure return on investment (ROI) which is everything in the current economic scenario. The marketer can measure the response at every step, including testing which message is more effective.

Below are a few key essentials to ensure your direct digital marketing campaign delivers good results:

List and contact management: The first step is to create or ensure a hygienic and relevant list of customers whom you can address. Segmentation is critical in email performance and some platforms can segment customers based on ‘who they are’ or ‘what they do’, etc.

Create a good message: Good and relevant content is key to how effective your DDM campaign is. So, this is an area that you need to focus on and get right. Message creation may be done via templates, the ability to rapidly create campaigns by copying and editing previous messages can be a time saver.

Deliverability: A great message and a quality list though do not necessarily deliver great results. To engage, marketers must get their emails and messages into prospective’s inboxes and ensure deliverability rate is no lesser than 90%.
Auto responders known as triggers are marketing sequences designed to build relations with the customer. You can not only include sign up forms but also behavioural responses such as a click or download.

Web landing page generation: Create a HTML code that allows customers to subscribe to your email list. High end platforms enable marketers create forms and landing pages as destination for email recipients.

Reporting and analytics: One of the most valuable aspects of DDM is its measurability. Measures such as list size, open rate, link rate, unsubscribe rate, spam complaints and rejection rate are a must.

CRM integration: It is a good idea for DDM to be directly integrated with sales CRM data so that a sales executive can map a prospective customer’s email activity.

Most importantly, DDM allows for you to integrate it with other marketing efforts, whether it is mobile or other on-the-ground promotional initiatives. So, here’s wishing you are able to engage your customers better in 2012.

Read original article at financialexpress.com

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