Big Data Hurdles to Overcome in Direct Mail: Momentum
As direct marketers, you have experience handling customer data, perhaps even from multiple channels. Now expand that data tenfold, and you’ve got Big Data. Every day the world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data according to IBM. To put this into perspective, the North Star is 2.5 quadrillion miles from earth, and a quadrillion is 1000 times less than a quintillion. So how do you get started putting all this information to work for your organization when the amount of data available is so overwhelming? You must take baby steps, gradually build momentum, and then keep moving forward.
Here are three suggestions to get you started:
- Develop and outline your goals.
Big Data provides marketers with the opportunity to gain in-depth insights into the behavior and preferences of their customers – on a real-time basis. Review your compiled data sources and identify the questions and problems you want to solve. Then develop and fine tune a strategy on how to accomplish this.
- Start small.
Determine what information is the most important for your campaign success. Select a few categories within your customer data files where you understand the intrinsic relationship between what has happened with a particular customer segment and what that will mean for future transactions. For example, based on what you already know about your current customers, perhaps you want to determine who your best customers will be moving forward and how you should target them. Don’t try to do too much too soon.
- Review and revise.
The biggest challenge you may face in building momentum with Big Data is ensuring consistent and meaningful analysis of the data you collect. Stay focused on the initial questions, analyze and revise as needed, and be prepared to eliminate unnecessary reports that contribute little or nothing to the desired outcome. Be sure to include ROI as one of the metrics for review.
How does this impact direct mail?
The information that you determine is most important to the success of your campaign will dictate the customer data that is required on the direct mail response form.
- Create a standard response form that collects this data for your company.
- If a mailing will contain personalized information, be sure to maintain consumer privacy by using either an inserted package format or a sealed self-mailer.
- Be prepared to test several packages against your control to verify what works best for your targeted market segment.
Finally, in the time that it might take to read one of the Big Data Hurdles to Overcome in Direct Mail blog posts, Google will receive over 20 million new search inquiries, over 5,000 new websites will be launched, consumers may spend over $2.7 million online, and Foursquare users will perform 20,000 check-ins. There’s no question that these numbers will continue to skyrocket over the coming year. However, the question is how will you, as a direct marketer, utilize this fountain of data in ways that will increase your company’s overall success in 2013?