Today we exist smack bang in the middle of a data explosion.
Floating around us is a sea of data – and much of the data that exists is about us. How we use services and what we consume. What we think and where we go. It is a combination of data we’ve given away, and data collected about us by third parties. For organisations that track this data, it is giving them a clearer idea of your customer journey.
A certain amount of data anxiety is normal, but for those who care to equip themselves for the information age, the possibilities are also exciting.
As business moves forward, many are trying to establish a sound way to use data in order to better understand, engage and activate consumers. Organisations want to make meaning of Big Data, and turn it into Smart Data.
“The explosive growth in the quantity and quality of personal data has created a significant opportunity to generate new forms of economic and social value.”- Rethinking Personal Data, World Economic Forum, 2012
In the future this might result in better strategies. More bespoke and customised services, or a better directed commercial for something you might actually have a need for. Predictive offerings, based on your behaviour, are also coming into play more often. Library assistants, such as those in Amazon and iTunes, offer you ideas based on your previous choices and predilections.
Leveraging personal data effectively can improve a brand's sales and marketing, brand perception, innovation, customer acquisition, retention and even product experiences. Furthermore, it can reduce the cost of serving your customers, and alleviate some of the risks of data management, compliance and security.
All organisations with human customers cannot choose to ignore the advent of this new world of data. It is proving to have the power to influence the way we make decisions, build communities and even vote. The vital challenge for companies is to build trust with consumers and to establish a platform on which they can improve relations with their fans. This might happen through offering greater relevance; more accurately rewarding loyalty; or offering great utility and amenity to the end user.
What is certain is that brands that execute well will become trusted, indispensible and highly valued. Those that don’t, will be left behind.