How marketing departments, rather than IT, are driving big data adoption

Marketing departments could soon start overtaking IT in terms of interest and investment in big data, argue experts


One core use of big data and analytics across a range of industries is content personalisation, which is most commonly associated with the retail sector. With it, browsing or brand interaction becomes personal to the shopper, which can subsequently drive revenue and, ultimately, customer loyalty.

Gordon adds: "What we've observed from many of the businesses that we work with is that, if you get it right and you're giving someone value for money or something that's very relevant and timely to them, then the response rate can increase by 100-200 per cent. It is a balance, but generally people are more reception if it's valuable to them."

"Customer engagement can't be outsourced anymore because they don't have the control," Arthur comments. "One retailer, from the time they get buying signals to the time they could potentially execute a campaign could be weeks, because of the data latency and the fragmentation."

The key to allaying fears of customers and consumers around the world and across industries, Arthur says, is increased transparency and acknowledgement that, with companies using big data to determine business strategy and marketing, the consumer is gaining control.

She says: "The consumer wasn't always in control. Companies controlled messages and were less transparent that is not the way companies can organise today. They have to be authentic, and if they're not, that gets called out, usually by somebody who finds that it's not transparent.

"That's the exciting thing about where we're going consumers are going to continue to have more power. We're not doing this today, but looking out many of us have talked about the day and age in which the consumer can check in and check out information."

Customers are key

Mark Cothron, data architect for Ace Hardware - a customer of Teradata's and also present at the conference - told IT Pro of the success the hardware chain has experienced since delving into data analytics.

"The answer is always in the data, whether it works or doesn't work," he claims. "When you compare an Ace Rewards Consumer to a non-Ace Rewards Consumer, or [determine] did a promotion work?', it's as simple as that.

"As companies evolve, the people that were in their positions and didn't want the data are kind of retiring and moving on. The new blood of people want the data there are people just clamouring for data."

He adds: "Data itself doesn't solve anything people have to use the data."

"We don't know what we don't know but what we have to do is continue to focus on the experience, and we use technology as the enabler of the experience," says Teradata's Arthur. "Then we're going to see exponential change that's going to drive value, or those that don't get it will be irrelevant or they'll be absorbed by another brand.

"Big data will enhance and expand the retailing environment if the organisation uses it to drive value, and heighten the experience. But it will continue to come down to experience," Arthur concludes.

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