New methods of crunching "Vast Data Sources" (bigger than “Big”) to reveal meaning will give us the ability to understand our customers and prospects as individuals. Then if we can just figure out how to deliver individually relevant content and service to 50 million customers, let’s say, on a daily or on-demand basis, we will have arrived at that nirvana of brand/customer relationship.
I have heard IBM and others call it “the connected customer.” The concept is easy to grasp and near impossible to pull off…so far. If we could analyze all of a person’s publicly available data and conversations like what they are saying everyday on Twitter, we could learn practical information about what they care about and need. Marketing then becomes a welcome answer to the questions people are implicitly or explicitly revealing everyday. You would understand if I were about to relocate to another city and therefore be in the market for a new house, a mortgage and property insurance. If you were an insurance company, you woudl find that valuable. Combine that with customer data and you now may have a way to understand and optimize lifetime customer value.
Big Data Helps Us Be Of-Service to Customers
It’s all very geeky. Often described in direct marketing language, this social customer relationship management approach tends to reduce us humans to single cell organisms just waiting to be “stimulated” by the direct marketers finely tuned cattle prod. But I think that is just the narrow laungage-set of a particular marketing discipline. This is about finding out what people may need from us and giving us more opportunities to be of-service as marketers.
IBM is exploring what it really takes to convert social data into usable ‘signal.’ Check out the IBM Accelerated Discovery Lab. I was inspired (disc: IBM is an Ogilvy client and I do not work directly for them but remain an authentic ‘fan.’). This outfit is committed to applying big data to real business problems like helping pharmaceutical companies discover new drugs, how to improve medical imaging analytics and converting customer social data into a valuable marketing system.
Understand and Connecting with the Individual is the New Marketing System
This video from the Accelerated Discovery Lab gives us a glimpse of how this can actually work. It is a view of the future of marketing.
Problem: A financial services company wants to connect with customers in the market for houses, cars and travel. The quality of their leads is rubbish.
Solution: Crunch billions of data ‘bits’ from Twitter to understand intent and psychology and build individual profiles of hundred of thousands of valuable leads. If you are a bank, insurance company, credit card company, this ability to connect individually based upon reliable ‘data-qualification’ will be how youy do things in the future.