Big Data: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Dec 21, 2012

Big Data Looking Back and Looking ForwardIn the run-up to the New Year, Kobie Marketing has highlighted four trends that will give loyalty programs, brands and loyalty program providers a major boost. They include: digital/big data, personalization, mobile, and channel convergence – this and our remaining posts for 2012 will dig a little deeper into each of these areas.

Considering Big Data continues to get big press, here’s our look at Big Data in 2012 and a peek into 2013.

Small Phrase With Big Impact

For a term that’s been around since 2008, (and whose beginnings stretch back much further) the phrase is starting to grow up. It’s in the news constantly. Google the expression and nearly 1 billion hits populate thousands of search pages. Big Data is a big deal for two reasons; the most obvious being the amount of actionable data – channeled through smartphones and tablets – generated by consumers, which is growing at breakneck speed.

And the second? The terabytes of data that are regularly being collected today, and expected to grow another 50-fold by 2020, mean nothing unless that data can be analyzed and acted upon.

Big Data is all About the Little Details

Today, managers can accurately track a host of metrics including SMS opt-ins, click rates, digital coupon redemptions, average price points, guest location in hotels, booking history, and even gender, (should they desire). Ideally collected anonymously, such a wealth of information helps brands across all verticals form a more accurate consumer picture, aiding loyalty management. The good news here is that many brands agree with this assessment. Nearly 88% of retailers “strongly agree” or agree that Big Data use was critical to their 2012 ad spending. The question for 2013 is, will your brand be in that 88% and what ways of applying collected data are you already thinking of to improve the loyalty experience?

Analyze Your Company Before Your Clients

One way to begin that application process now before the Times Square New Years ball drops is to apply the tenets of Big Data inward first. That means a heightened sharing of internal data in an effort to prevent siloing, a critical corporate flaw for businesses of all sizes. Siloing is the process by which one department, say loyalty management, has little or no idea what the sales department is planning to pitch or if the IT department has the staff and resources available to launch the requested tech-centric campaign to begin with. What’s more, none of the said departments have actually shared timely and relevant data about their consumers with each other, resulting in weaker customer reward programs. Nor has there been a deep analysis done by the organization to learn how communication can be improved. For this task, consider outsourcing the research to a “data scientist,” a professional title billed by an October 2012 Harvard Business Review article as “The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century”  due to its increasing demand across multiple verticals – far afield from traditional science.

In 2013 look for Big Data news to shift from growing comfort with the term to growing concern over how to actually act on the data collected. Bringing your company up to internal Big Data speeds first, however, ensures that your consumers will be the first to benefit when those analytics are applied to an improved, experience-driven loyalty program outward.

So will Big Data remain a big deal in 2013? You can count on it– and then act on it! Acting on Big Data in a personalized way will be the 2013 game changer that will greatly assist customer reward programs and enhance effective loyalty program management.

Stay tuned for the next post in our year-end series on 2013 trends.