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Cross Media and Big Data: A Marriage Made in Heaven

Leveraging big data to drive cross media campaigns provides print, specifically direct mail, with a chosen seat at the marketing table. Using data, marketers are able to deliver more relevant experiences to target audiences—i.e. personalization—to drive up response rates, resulting in happier clients.

“Marketing and advertising is a cross- channel practice, and the same needs to be true for solutions that enable personalization,” states InfoTrends, in its report The Personalization Imperative: Building the Next Generation of Personalized Customer Experiences. “The diversity of data sources available today—web analytics, geo- location, transactional, social, mobile, and more—can be leveraged to create and deliver highly relevant, contextual customer experiences.”

Data mining, audience segmentation, predictive modeling, and other forms of targeting that actually originated in practice with direct mail are now being used across a multitude of channels, reports InfoTrends.

According to Serge Grichmanoff, CEO of SmartGuys Analytics, “The new direct marketing is an information driven marketing process, managed by a database technology that enables marketers to develop, test, implement, measure, and appropriately modify customized marketing programs and strategies.”

Personalization Provides

The use of personalized, one-to-one marketing grew 40 percent from 2010 to 2012 at the expense of mass marketing, which decreased six percent over the same period, reports InfoTrends.

Also noted by InfoTrends, however, is that 45 percent of marketer respondents in a NYAMA/Columbia study admitted that they are not using personalization to its fullest potential. “This issue is compounded by the inability to link big data to the individual customer level, which 42 percent of respondents reported as a challenge,” says the study. “Lack of data is certainly not the issue, but how it is shared and governed across the enterprise will need to be addressed by any company that is serious about achieving personalization.”

The Three V’s

Big data relies on three characteristics: velocity (the speed at which data is delivered—which in today’s world is real-time); volume; and variety (the types of data available, such as geo-location, demographic, etc.), explains Madhu Nair, Global Product Marketing Manager for SAS Data Management, which specializes in brand analytics.

“Big data has become a lifeline,” he adds. “The more you can gain insights into the footprints people leave, the more you can engage them.”

One newspaper client, The Miami Herald Media Company, sends out over half a million pieces of direct mail each week, but wasn’t getting the returns it wanted for its subscription campaigns. SAS pulled and cleaned data from their subscription list.

“You have to know what you are looking for, mine the data, clean it up, make sure the quality of the data is there. Based on what we saw in the data, we went after market segments that were the most valuable, with the ultimate effect being increased subscriptions,” says Nair.

Many larger organizations are well-versed in dealing with big data--they have data “warehouses” filled to the brim with contact information, transaction details, loyalty points, and personal preferences of their customers, as well as archives of their marketing campaigns that can help them optimize future initiatives, notes Jeff Hayes, president, InfoTrends. “Rich data already exists to power personalization, so long as a business is setup to do so.”

For many printers looking to tap into big data for their customers’ cross-media campaigns, education is required says Grichmanoff. It’s critical to understand what the data is, its value, and how to take action based on the data.

“You need to be able to take that data, and translate it into an understanding of when a person needs to be communicated to, when an event is happening (i.e., when the end customer will buy a new car), and how you are going to incentify them to buy product—all of that info is available in the customer’s previous history,” says Grichmanoff.

Data is a very integrated, eco-system, says Grichmanoff. It tells you your customers’ previous history, who their competition is, the economic health of the region being targeted, the ability of the population to buy your customer’s product, even the demand for your customer’s product.

In its study on personalization, InfoTrends found that data management and analytics investment is poised to grow at a rate of 24 percent in the next two years.

“When the client comes in and you can work with the nuances of data to drive a campaign, then cross media becomes a thing of beauty,” says Grichmanoff.

In fact, says Grichmanoff, “it doesn’t matter what the canvas is delivering the message. It can be print, email, mobile—what matters is what the message should be (how to personalize that message), and that is where analytics comes in.”

The data available today allows marketers to design campaigns based on how the end customer will respond to a specific message. “For some segments, websites will work, for others, print will work better,” explains Grichmanoff. “But you need that initial layer of data to show you who the customer is—to understand their actions. This level of understanding is paramount for cross media.”

For JSA, a leading American Nonprofit Organization that recruits and prepares high school students for college and life-long civic involvement, SmartGuys Analytics embellished existing client data with enhanced data of approximately 100 variables, allowing SmartGuys to model and understand the drivers of response and conversion. Using conventional methods, previous marketing campaigns tracked at 0.3 percent; using the enhanced data, the response rate jumped to over 15 percent.

Even as the objectives of marketing remain the same—finding out which customers need what and deliver it to them—using big data and cross media, the way that message is delivered has completely changed.

What the savvy marketer gets, is that “if you have the wrong message, it doesn’t manner how many different channels you use, you still have the wrong message,” says Grichmanoff.

We’ve Got a Long Way to Go, Baby

For printers, one of the challenges associated with data-driven cross media campaigns is that it requires a paradigm shift. “You can’t think of a customer’s marketing campaign in terms of running that one job-- it’s a print run, it’s one job, it’s a single instant of time,” says Grichmanoff. “With big data, by definition, it’s a complex data structure—the data is interrelated, it spans time and dimensions. It’s built on historical patterns.”

Adds Grichmanoff, “ It comes down to understanding the nuances of the client’s marketing plan and their data, and then taking that data and gleaming the info out of that data, and finally, leveraging corporate communications using that data across all channels.”

Not just for the print job today, but over a period of time. The data, for example, may span two years worth of effort. When you are talking about big data, you are talking about historical patterns.

Steps in Gathering Big Data

You need to know how to:

  • Identify and gather relevant data about customers and prospects
  • Transform raw data into accessible marketing information
  • Apply statistical techniques to databases:
    • Analyze behavior
    • Isolate market segments
    • Score and rank consumers in terms of predictability