Misusing Big Data and Other Online Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2015

Mark Flaharty January 15, 2015
Misusing Big Data and Other Online Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2015

This post originally appeared on Internet Retailer on January 13, 2015. 

In the retail world, we live by the statement, “With big data comes big opportunity.” Few, if any, industries are as rich in data as retail. Today, so much is being done to use this data to market retail businesses with greater effectiveness and efficiency. With an eye toward 2015, here are the mistakes you must avoid in order to ensure that you take full advantage of the big data opportunity and that your brand’s marketing focus is in the right place: on quality.

  1. Allowing the principles of relevance and personalization to be misused at your company: When it comes to using your first-party data, nothing matters more than the relevance you achieve in using it. Using the wealth of data you have on your customers – both current and prospective – can forever improve the way you interact with them. Interacting one-to-one with a high degree of personalization and relevance is possible in the digital world, as long as you:- Stop thinking that geo-targeting signifies personalization or relevance. Just because something is happening in my metro area does not mean that it is relevant to me. For example, why do I care about a car dealer near me, when I am not even in the market for a car?- Stop thinking that segmentation or categorization of customers creates personalization or relevance down to the individual level. Instead, start thinking in terms of individualization. In a retail world where we have a plethora of data about millions of our customers and site visitors, the goal of creating a unique and personalized experience for each of them leads us to individualization – and by using that term, we avoid the many misuses of personalization in today’s marketing world.- Start making it a priority to control the user experience both onsite and offsite. So much time is spent creating the best user experience on your site, but the opportunity finally exists for you to also control the offsite experience. Use the first-party data you have on your customers and site visitors to deliver a regular, customized and individualized experience off of your site with personalized video, display advertising and email.
  2. Letting someone else tell you how to measure your advertising: Are you measuring your advertising effectiveness or listening to others tell you how to measure it?Technological advancements have made advanced attribution methodology possible. Gone are the days where we only measure the return on investment (ROI) on in-session clicks. We can now observe all touch points that lead to a conversion and make highly accurate predictions of what each marketing expenditure will produce.These advancements mean that the way value is attributed to your advertising mix is up to you – not media partners and not the industry. It is your budget, so figure out what is the best way for your business to measure it and hold it accountable.The good media partners will help you build value based on your definition of it.
  3. Allowing the industry to put value on who does your media buying: In today’s digital advertising world, there cannot be just one source for your media buying. If you are focused on building comprehensive engagement with your customers, you will need multiple buying sources, in and out of the programmatic world.
  4. Not focusing on data quality and performance: The key to getting to both quality and performance is owning, controlling and understanding your data. So, get your data plumbing in order, get your data connected, start to understand what data is most predictive and what is not, and then start demanding that all of your digital media partners feed you the data from the programs they run on your behalf.

Marketing is equal parts art and science. Today, perhaps the art is just us setting up the foundation and then getting out of the way so that data and science can do their job of delivering optimal value and quality—for both brands and their customers.