5 Unexpected Ways That Businesses Can Use Big Data

October 11, 2022

Posted by: DevDigital

5 Unexpected Ways That Businesses Can Use Big Data

The increasing volume and variety of data available to today’s business owners can be a problem, or an opportunity. Gaining useful insights on customer wants and needs or buying trends can make the difference between growing and just barely keeping the doors open. This, fundamentally, is why so many business owners are interested in using big data to derive insights into market trends and consumer behavior. When looking ahead to 2023, these examples of creative data use may offer some inspiration to any business owner or executive who needs new advertising, branding, or strategy ideas.

Valuable Places to Get Creative with Big Data

If you read about the topic at all you will encounter the terms volume, velocity, variety, and veracity. Big data is a label for a huge volume of data that comes in diverse forms, changes quickly, and is of high quality.

Government agencies, large corporations, universities, and big nonprofits are all trying to extract more value from the masses of diverse and ever-evolving data they collect. Marketers want to mine the data for insights into how they can reach customers more efficiently and get more sales. Government agencies want to monitor and address social problems that are ever-changing and evolving, like substance abuse and violent crime.

Businesses are probably using big data the most though, because it can be so valuable in marketing, product design, and strategic planning. Here are five places where big data is useful in creative and unexpected ways.

1 – Marketing to Specific Customer Segments

Everyone who sells anything knows the value of market segmentation. You sell workout clothing to girls, fitness-conscious adults, pregnant women, and so on. Dividing customers this way can be easy, but using data on shopping habits, purchase history, and hobbies along with demographic information like education level or gender can be much better in terms of finding ways to present enticing offers to specific groups of customers.

Some years ago, Target figured out how to market pregnancy-related goods to women who didn’t necessarily know they were pregnant. They did this by gathering and analyzing vast amounts of customer data and correlating buying patterns of women who later bought certain items with those who bought diapers or other things a new mother might buy.

2 – Finding and Defining New Market Segments

All but the smallest companies serve multiple market segments. Whether they market their products accordingly or not, people with a variety of interests and tastes may visit a site and browse. Smart marketers try to identify these groups and their tastes, to better present them with products appropriate to them, versus products generically applicable to people who shop for car insurance, rental apartments, or meal delivery services.

Picture a meal delivery service that focuses on common menu selections, including Italian and American cuisine. The company has a few vegetarian options but has not been promoting them. Instead of guessing that healthier eating is “in,” they have real data to use in adjusting their marketing strategy. Two new vegetarian options go live on the site. Perhaps the marketing department will write promotional copy that directs health-conscious eaters to the company’s five vegetarian meal options. Paid search advertising could not target consumers who search online for vegetarian-friendly meal delivery.

3 – Creating Inventive Social Media Campaigns

A social media marketing blitz can be a great way to create brand awareness, attract the attention of new customers, or promote a cause. The point is to create something data-driven that stands out from the thousands of social media marketing campaigns running on any given day. Or you could do what a Canadian company did.

Union Station in Toronto put on a show a few years ago during the Christmas season. Canadian Tire used data from different social media platforms to control the color-changing lights on Christmas trees. The more holiday spirit appeared, the brighter the lights got. Various holiday-themed keywords triggered different lighting patterns to play out on the tree.

4 – Predicting Demand for Services

Knowing when to expect a surge in demand is sometimes easy and sometimes quite difficult. A coffee shop owner will stock up on seasonal drink ingredients ahead of Halloween and Christmas. A package delivery company would add more drivers and package handlers during the holiday season because demand for package delivery always surges from about a week before Thanksgiving through the first of the following year. Sometimes, knowing how or when to ramp up operations requires taking a close look at a mass of data points.

Uber has a huge amount of customer and driver data available. Every ride generates more data, creating an ever-changing picture of driver availability and rider demand. This data can be useful in many ways. Uber offers driver incentives to make sure there are usually enough drivers to cover surges in demand. Uber also uses that data to, among other things, provide accurate estimates of when the driver will arrive, which increases customer satisfaction.

5 – Meeting Unexpected Consumer Demands

Advertising makes potential customers aware of products and services that may meet their needs. If a company knew how to tap into urgent needs or even create a need, then they could attract more customers. This is really Marketing 101, but big data opens up the possibility of finding novel ways to drive demand.

The Weather Company used their vast database of consumer behavior and weather data to help corporate clients find new opportunities to make sales. They partnered with Pantene and Walgreens to help them sell more “anti-frizz” hair products in humid climates. With Weather Company data, those advertisers knew just when to begin pushing the relevant hair care products.

Use Data Creatively to Grow and Evolve

Big data applications in marketing, strategy, and advertising offer many creative opportunities for the determined business owner. From finding new customers to testing ad copy, and creatively boosting demand for a product, big data offers myriad opportunities to businesses that use that data in creative ways.

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