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Embrace our economy’s new natural resource!

Published: Tuesday, 19 April 2016 by Gerard Brinkman, CEO, OnMarc
Big Data Analytics

Big data is hyped. That’s a pity because big data enables marketers to make organisations and brands relevant. It’s a fact that market conditions change. One could say that data, big or small, will become our economy’s new natural resource. And that is why this belongs in the marketing department.

So, are you afraid to read this article? Probably not as you already started, which is good. It probably means you are a data specialist or one of the first people from other departments of your organisation that realises data will be our economy’s new natural resource.

Of course we are talking about big data for marketing purposes. Other areas of expertise have been using data as a natural resource for a much longer time; how else would you predict the weather?
Big data keeps growing exponentially. Both data, the use of data as well as the discussions about it. That’s what makes big data hyped, and again, that’s unfortunate.

Unfortunate because behind big data are the developments that matter most to organisations. New data applications enable us to be more relevant and to get to know the human being behind the customer number. The heart of the matter is this: the goal you want to reach is more important than the tools themselves.

Put an end to data-avoiding behaviour
We realise the subject “data” has always been isolated. Data were safely embedded in applications, data processes and in business intelligence departments. It was interesting only for scientist or geeks.
For many organisations it is impossible to incorporate big data in existing processes. Literally big data is too big a subject. The possibilities are too vague and abstract to be incorporated swiftly in the organisational structure. Compare it to the introduction of word processors, email or CRM software. Introductions like these are often painful introductions...but why?

  • It’s not easy to look forwards instead of backward.
  • It’s very difficult to let go of existing methods.
  • It’s often impossible to let go of your gut feeling.

Introducing digital innovation is the work of human beings. How do we inspire you to overcome these fears? Well everything starts with knowledge. Taking the necessary steps to improve your own knowledge or to obtain knowledge is critical.

1.    Don’t set data ambitions but define marketing goals

Thinking about data makes no sense. You end up with vague big data stories and there are plenty of those already. Data can never be a goal, but a means to higher ends. As soon as you switch your thinking from ambitions to concrete goals, you start thinking about data. Attracting new customers, recruiting new employees, counteracting churn, developing new services and best of all: helping your customers to purchase.

2.    Start thinking from the business model “human being”

It is necessary to think small, contrary to what big data may suggest. Start thinking from one individual customer instead of from the large system and its possibilities. Turn around your business model, ask questions from your customer’s business model and discover there are holes in your infrastructure, proposition and customer experience. Holes for which you may find a solution with data.

3.    Recruit and broaden and deepen talent

Big data is all about clever analysis tools and possibilities to measure everything. But it is even more about getting the right people to do the job. There is more to data analysis than bits and bytes. It is not technology, it is your organisation. There are barely enough data specialists so invest in smart people with good social skills. People who know how to make connections in your organisation and understand the meaning of patterns and how to translate them into business objectives.

4.    Think full time
How often do you call a customer to ask if he is interested? Once or twice? And then a break or do you stop calling altogether? Traditional marketing conditioned us to think and work on a campaign-focused approach in which we cannot, dare not and are not allowed to continually ask our customer questions. That’s why we always have a fragmented and one-off image of our customers. Big data algorithms see analysis and calculations as constantly evolving and continually repeating. What is to be discovered when you can do continuous research of your customers? You can ask yourself that question without any mathematical, technical or scientific background. It is just logic and common sense.

5.    Start pioneering
There is no insurance company, bank or telecom provider who is not unfolding a data driven strategy. They are not sticking to fixed patterns, established lines or methods. They are pioneering and experimenting to determine, through data, changes in customer focus, efficiency or market change. Our advice is: Think, Do, Think, Do. Ensure your strategy is focused on customers and constantly ask yourself: what is your goal?

We believe data changes the nature of leadership and management. The data revolution changes the way decisions are made, moving us from gambling to predicting.

We realise many people are allergic to the word data. We, data specialists, over feed our customers with abstract and detailed possibilities, where we should be talking about customers, products and services. But data analysis and the discussion about it should be part of every department of any organisation, not because big data is the new trendy word, but because data creates shifts in market structures and by applying them this will create new markets.



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