Big Data Promotes a Culture of Data-Informed Decision Making and Adaptive Marketing – Antony Young-Mindshare

Big Data is quickly being catapulted to the top of Marketing’s agenda, but it remains a challenge for many companies in preparing for this shift. According to a survey conducted by IBM, less than half of CMO’s feel prepared to cope with this increasing amount of marketing data over the next 5 years, with the data explosion cited as their #1 headache. The problem isn’t obtaining data, it’s figuring out how to turn it into marketing magic. I’m seeing a growing list of exceptional cases of marketer’s shifting their organizations to adopt a higher level of data-informed decision making, often with astonishing results.

It’s not so much big data, but smart data used at scale

Last week, I had dinner with Joe Rospars, founding partner at Blue State Digital, who served as Obama’s Chief Digital Strategist for his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and asked him about big data. He responded, their approach “wasn’t so much big data, but smart data used at scale.” To win this election, they needed to get very granular in their targeting. By extracting voter files and collecting information via the tens of thousands of polling calls made to homes every night, they were able to identify by household individual voter likelihood, and then determine the communications they needed to deliver.

The Obama campaign expertly targeted via online advertising, email, door to door and phone canvassing very personalized messaging. They cleverly extended this strategy via social media. Nearly a million supporters that ‘liked’ the Obama 2012 page also allowed access to their profile data via Facebook Connect. This enabled Obama’s people to identify their Facebook friends in battleground States, cross tabulate with their own databases, which they then asked supporters to email or even personally call their friends that fit likely Obama voter profiles, to remind them to register or vote early.

Data is the engine for Adaptive Marketing

Data is allowing brands to move quicker and more decisively to gain a market advantage by dynamically informing their messaging and media.

Samsung a big investor in data, worked with insights firm Networked Insights, to use real-time social listening to help them keep a finger on the pulse of consumer sentiment and adjust their communications to capitalize on the web discussion about brands.

Within a couple of hours of Apple’s Tim Cook revealing their iPhone 5, Samsung reading the reaction in social channels, drafted new print, digital, and TV ads. The following week as the iPhone hit the stores, they aired TV ads mocking Apple customers queuing up for the new phone and some of its less flattering features. The commercial was a hit, and received more than 70 million views online.

They also used social listening as a real time guide to evaluate how effective their ads were with consumers by measuring what people are saying about them and what effect they’ve having on competitors’ brands. Stressing the importance of data in informing their marketing, Brian Wallace, the former VP of Marketing at Samsung, (who recently moved to Motorola to a global marketing role) said, “The data guys lead these conversations. Not the creative guys. Not the sale guys. And it’s not just analytics — it’s analysis.” He added, “[data] does not crush the art of advertising. It simply informs it — and ultimately improves it.” Samsung’s shift to a strategy of employing social data at the center was one of the key factors that assisted them to move from the number 4 mobile device manufacturer to pass the mighty Apple.

Creating a more personalized customer experience

I’m seeing a focus on data enabling marketers to create smarter, more engaged customer experiences.

I recently chaired a panel which included Sandra Zoratti, co-author of the book Precision MarketingShe cited Caesar’s Entertainment as a marketer that centralized data to better formulate its approach to marketing. They identified 0.15% of their customers that contributed to 12% of their casino revenues. This led to them employing Good Luck Ambassadors to monitor these customers. If they weren’t having a good night on the tables, they offered complimentary tickets to a show or dinner based on their known preferences to ensure they left their casinos with a positive experience.

Building a fluid organization that can capitalize on the data

Shifting to a fast moving data marketing organization isn’t just about software and strategy. It requires a shift in how the agency and clients teams work.

The Obama campaign quadrupled their data team from the previous election campaign, adding data technologists, behavioral scientists and mathematicians to crunch the data and help interpret them into actionable marketing insights.

According to Rospars, to improve speed of activation, they established a persona playbook on how the brand should speak, to allow them to delegate decision making down.

Personally, I love this shift to data-informed decision making. It is creating more adaptive, more relevant and more commercial marketing programs. We are barely scratching the surface, but it’s clear that going forward, data will be an enabler of more potent marketing.

Thanks to Brand Media Strategy


10 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew About Them [Infographic]

Earlier this week I shared an infographic that outlined the 6 Keys to Branding your Small Business. One of the components was related to knowing who your target audience – or customers are. You can never know too much about your customers. Understanding their likes and dislikes, shopping behavior, etc. can help you make better business decisions.

Surprisingly, there are still things that customers say they wish businesses understood about them better. Help Scout, a customer service software company has put together this infographic that highlights research related to the topic.

Here are some key takeaways:

Customers prefer knowledgeable and thought-out service, rather than having a rushed experience.
Loyalty customers are bound to stay if get them started with the program.
Consumers would rather connect with a brand emotionally than with “savings” type messages.
Everyone loves pleasant surprises!

10 things you should know about your customers infographic 10 Things Your Customers Wish You Knew About Them [Infographic]


Clash of Compliance Cultures: Old vs. New World

In the last few years, US companies have not been shy about expressing their feelings on the EU’s Data Protection Directive (DPD). There’s a major social media player, for example, with a European HQ in Ireland that’s been publicly critical of a proposed “right to be forgotten” rule for letting consumers delete their online data. There’s also a search engine service that, while not openly objecting, is instead suggesting it’s already doing a darn good job of meeting the DPD’s rules.

US companies have begun to learn that the data privacy rules and expectations they’re accustomed to in the US are viewed differently on the other side of the Atlantic. The EU Charter–the European constitution—explicitly lists data protection as a fundamental right. That’s roughly like having a US amendment devoted to encryption, which, at this time, there isn’t.

This is not to say there’s a complete privacy compliance chasm between the US and EU.

Healthcare companies have long had extensive regulatory obligations under HIPAA for securing health information, alerting consumers about breaches, and gaining consent on information transfers. US companies in the banking and credit sectors could point to parallels in Gramm-Leach-Bliley and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

While US medical and financial companies have had to deal with privacy and security legal burdens, that’s not been the case with the social media players. Because the Data Protection Directive covers all companies collecting data—not just ones in select, albeit important, industries—and through its Safe Harbor treaty it snags US firms as well, it’s not surprising that US Internet-based companies face the most culture shock when conducting business in the EU.

The ultimate issue is that in the new information economy data is revenue, and so deleting it is like, well, burning legacy paper currency.

Besides the right to data erasure differences, another sticking point between US social media companies and the EU is on rules for reasonable data retention limits. But this again reflects mostly differences between old and new economies.  After all, outside the social media world, it’s generally considered good security policy—limiting data breach liabilities—to keep PII data to a minimum and erase it when it’s no longer necessary. For example, the credit card vendors, through their PCI industry standard, emphatically remind corporations with regard to credit card numbers that “if you don’t need it, don’t store it! ”

But new regulatory forces along with changes in consumer attitudes may tilt social media companies towards a European view.

The FTC’s new privacy framework that was published earlier last year—and that I always come back to—calls for minimizing data collection of consumer data and sensible retention limits. There’s a (stalled) bill in the Senate, revealingly entitled “The Commercial Bill of Rights”, which will implement some EU-style data and privacy protections. The bill’s scope, by the way,  covers anycompany that “collects, uses, transfers, or stores covered information concerning more than 5,000 individuals.”

Good data protection and privacy best practices may one day become as American as espressos and lattes.

Is Vine The Next Big Social Media Hit?

Last Thursday Twitter launched a new video sharing service called Vine.

Mentions of it started to trickle into my twitter feed over the weekend, but since yesterday I’ve been seeing #vineapp everywhere – so I thought it was time to take a look.

I’ve played with it for about 10 minutes so far and my first reaction is that it’s a lot like Instagram, but with videos.

You download the free app – at the moment it’s only available on Apple devices (but I’m sure it will roll out soon to android and windows).

The videos are six seconds in length and on a constant loop.

You can follow users, like videos, and share them to twitter and FB – in the same way as Instagram.

From a business marketing point of view; I think this will become very popular, very quickly, which means for now at least, it should be incorporated into your social media plan.

Although, I wouldn’t rush into it. The videos need to be innovative so that people will actually watch and share your content, otherwise it will be a huge waste of your time.

I would suggest having a good look through at the things that are being posted and ask yourself:

what is being liked?
which users are being followed?
what is the message that you want to get across?
how you can incorporate that message into a 6 second video?

Written by Michelle Jackson Rowe – get in touch via: Find out more at:

IBM’s fashion prediction, yes you heard correctly

Although IBM isn’t a brand known for its fashion sense, the company has predicted that fashion will take a retro-futuristic trend in 2013, with Steampunk being a major inspiration for brands. IBM made the prediction after measuring social sentiment and finding lots of chatter around the sub-genre, which is inspired by the clothing and technology of Victorian society.

Check out the full post at:

IBM Predicts Steampunk Will Be The Major Fashion Trend Of 2013

Using Search Analytics To See Into Gartner’s $232B Big Data Forecast

By combining search analytics and the latest Gartner forecast on big data published last week, it’s possible to get a glimpse into this areas’ highest growth industry sectors.  Big data is consistently a leading search term on, which is the basis of the twelve months of data used for the analysis.

In addition, data from Gartner’s latest report, Big Data Drives Rapid Changes in Infrastructure and $232 Billion in IT Spending Through 2016 by Mark A. Beyer, John-David Lovelock, Dan Sommer, and Merv Adrian is also used.  These authors have done a great job of explaining how big data is rapidly emerging as a market force, not just a single market unto itself.  This distinction pervades their analysis and the following table showing Total IT Spending Driven by Big Data reflects the composite market approach.  Use cases from enterprise software spending, storage management, IT services, social media and search forecasts are the basis of the Enterprise Software Spending for Specified Sub-Markets Forecast.  Social Media Analytics are the basis of the Social Media Revenue Worldwide forecast.

Additional Take-Aways

  • Enterprise software spending for specified sub-markets will attain a 16.65% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue from 2011 to 2016.
  • Attaining a 96.77% CAGR from 2011 through 2016, Social Media Revenue Is one of the primary use case catalysts of this latest forecast.
  • Big Data IT Services Spending will attain a 10.20% CAGR from 2011 to 2016.
  • $29B will be spent on big data throughout 2012 by IT departments.  Of this figure, $5.5B will be for software sales and the balance for IT services.
  • Gartner is projecting a 45% per year average growth rate for social media, social network analysis and content analysis from 2011 to 2016.
  • Gartner projects a 20 times ratio of IT Services to Software in the short term, dropping as this market matures and more expertise is available.
  • By 2020, big data functionality will be part of the baseline of enterprise software, with enterprise vendors enhancing the value of their applications with it.
  • Organizations are already replacing early implementations of big data solutions – and Gartner is projecting this will continue through 2020.
  • By 2016 spending on Application Infrastructure and Middleware becomes one of the most dominant for big data in Enterprise Software-Specified Sub Markets.

  • $232B is projected to be sold in total across all categories in the forecast from 2011 to 2016. From $24.4B in 2011 to $43.7B in 2016, this presents a 12.42% CAGR in total market growth.

Search Analytics and Big Data

Big data is continually one of the top terms search on, and over the last twelve months, this trend has accelerated.  The following time series graph shows the weekly number of inquiries Gartner clients have made, with the red line being the logarithmic trend.

Banking (25%), Services (15%) and Manufacturing (15%) are the three most active industries in making inquiries about big data to Gartner over the last twelve months.  The majority of these are large organizations (63%) located in North America (59%) and Europe (19%).

What unifies all of these industries from a big data standpoint is how critical the stability of their customer relationships are to their business models.  Banks have become famous for bad service and according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) have shown anemic growth in customer satisfaction in the latest period measured, 2010 to 2011.  The potential for using big data to becoming more attuned to customer expectations and deliver more effective customer experiences in this and all services industries shows great upside.

Bottom line: Companies struggling with flat or dropping rankings on the ACSI need to consider big data strategies based on structured and unstructured customer data.  In adopting this strategy the potential exists to drastically improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately profits.

Thanks to

Instagram and Pinterest: 6 Ways to Tackle Social Through Mobile

The last couple of years have been pivotal for brands’ social media capabilities. Social media has grown beyond the 140-character, text-only limit and has blossomed into media-rich social communities. There is a burgeoning opportunity for brands to take advantage of social media in new ways to garner more brand interest, loyalty and participation.

About four years ago, Twitter was dominating the media waves with thousands of experts and bloggers sharing advice on how brands and companies could harness this new social technology. Now, media-rich platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram are the social media darlings, and Facebook continues to release innovative new capabilities for companies hoping to connect with their social customers. Some brands are making promising headway into social and mobile integration, and soon, they’ll be paving the way for many other brands. For companies contemplating dipping a foot in—or diving in completely—there are a number of practices to start now.

1. Incorporate merchandise photos on an Instagram brand page.

Instagram is a popular new photo sharing mobile app, where users can upload or take photos, edit them using preloaded photo themes and share with the community and their friends. Brands with photogenic merchandise should get on Instagram now. Companies should upload in-store photos of products or events, product shots, magazine spots and any other brand-worthy photos to Instagram, and tag them with key words and location to drive traffic to local stores. Puma (11,000+ followers) is doing a great job of sharing not only product shots, but lifestyle shots, with a friendly mobile fan base.

2. Add “lookbooks” to Pinterest.

Officially launched in 2010 as an invite-only beta trial, Pinterest has become the fastest growing and third most popular social network, behind only Facebook and Twitter. This virtual pin board allows users to upload photos from the web, add a description, organize by topic (or pin board) and share with their followers. Because every pin is credited back to the online source, many brands have experienced increases in site visits and sales from Pinterest traffic. A study showed that 21 percent of Pinterest users had made a purchase directly from Companies could easily create boards that serve as lookbooks for their merchandise. One of my favorite brands to follow on Pinterest is Michael Kors, and his board, “Style Tips” is a good example of a brand sharing a product-inspired lookbook. A recommendation for Mr. Kors would be to link the photo back to the e-commerce product page or include the link in the description.

3. Allow customers to create and share Pinterest boards as a part of a community action.

Earlier this year, The Paper Source, an arts and crafts store, encouraged their customers to create a board inspired by a craft project using pins from as a part of a competition. The chosen winner of the most creative board would receive a large discount on all supplies needed to complete the project. It would be awesome to see a company run an in-store mobile contest where customers could create Pinterest boards on their phones or tablets by scanning product QR codes and adding them to the boards.

4. Incorporate social sharing functions in your product pages to encourage customers to share products with friends on social networks.

For example, Free People has implemented a unique version of this strategy—it has begun uploading Instagram photos from fans and customers on its product pages. What an incentive for customers to post Free People product photos! Free People also allows customers to create wardrobe wish lists directly on their site, which they can share on Facebook with friends.

5. Incorporate these social sharing functions into your mobile app.

Social sharing happens anywhere there is opportunity and inspiration, so social sharing capabilities in mobile apps is a must. Nordstrom has incorporated social sharing buttons into its mobile product pages so customers can interact with Nordstrom and fellow shoppers and friends on a more personal level. Nordstrom commented in a recent article, “We know our customers love shopping with their iPad and we hope this is a first step toward creating a more convenient and compelling way to interact with Nordstrom on this device.”

6. Encourage social participation in the store.

The physical store is no longer strictly physical. Customers can use mobile devices to scan product barcodes or QR codes, they can share store photos on Instagram, check in on Fourquare or Yelp, and many other virtual activities. If you’re a brand who has it, flaunt it. If you are active in all of the above areas (or plan to be), tell your customers! Sephora does this well. The beauty products retailer has an incredible “nail bar” where polish is on display, as well as tutorials and photo examples of trendy manicures. All around the nail bar are signs that encourage shoppers to share their latest manicure/pedicure creation on Sephora’s “Nailspotting” Pinterest board. Shoppers can take pictures of their nails, send to Sephora and the retailer will post your creation for all to see.

Caitlin New is a Senior Account Manger at Ketner Group, a PR and marketing communications agency headquartered in Austin, TX.

Thanks to the mobileretailblog

The Social Brand Value of the World’s Leading Brands

The Social Brand Value of the World's Leading Brands Infographic

In November 2011, social media consultancy Sociagility looked at the social brand value of 50 of the world’s leading brands, creating a revised top 50 ranking according to their social media performance, as measured by the consultancy’s PRINT Index™ KPI. The PRINT system compares brands on five key dimensions or ‘attributes’ of social media performance – popularity, receptiveness, interaction, network reach and trust – across multiple platforms. The Sociagility Top 50 report analyses the social brand value of the world’s leading brands and the competitive influences that determine their social media performance. Here’s a visual representation of just some of the report highlights

Kelloggs: The Special K Tweet Shop


This isn’t the first Tweet Shop, but its probably the second or third ever, and a very cool pop-up style store turning customers social currency into real goods and positive sentiment… Passers by can walk into the store, sample the range of new cereal crisps and then tweet about them to buy a box to take home. It’s a little contrived, but then again, experiences like this will probably generate Tweets and Facebook posts without the mandatory requirement too… I know I would… Thoughts?


IBM Survey: Social Media Impacting Threats From Reputational Risk


So here’s a question for you? What is your organization doing to more effectively manage its risk profile?

IBM recently released its 2012 Global Reputational Risk and IT Study, and the findings suggest that companies are viewing their IT investments through a new lens.

First, some background, and then a summary of the findings.

This study is an investigation of how organizations around the world are managing their reputations in today’s digital era, where IT is an integral part of their operations and where IT failures can result in reputational damage.

The report was written by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which both executed an online survey and conducted client executive interviews.

That included 427 senior executive responses from around the world, 42 percent of those being C-level, with 33 percent of respondents coming from North America, 29 percent from Europe, and 26 percent from Asia-Pacific.

The survey included industries that ran the gamut, including banking, IT, energy and utilities, and insurance.

Impact of Social Media On Risk

Corporate reputations are especially difficult to manage in an era when anyone with a smartphone and Internet connection can file their complaint with a single touch.

With social media sites like Facebook and Twitter boasting over 1.4 million people combined, there is now a highly visible and immediate alterative to a company’s own communications regarding its reputation.

Because of that, more organizations have introduced reputational risk as a distinct category within their enterprise risk management frameworks.

The study suggests that companies have begun to pay closer attention to the links between IT failures and reputational damage, and also examines how executives are attempting to protect their brands from what could arguably be called “a preventable glitch.”

So, drum roll, please. Here’s a summary of some of the key findings:

  • IT risk management and investment directly supports a company’s reputation. Reputational risk has evolved into an asset that is fundamentally supported by IT planning and investment. 78 percent say they included reputational risk in their own IT risk planning, and 75 percent say their budget will grow due to concerns for such. Eighteen percent indicate that spend will increase by more than 20 percent in the next 12 months.
  • The CEO owns it but shares it. When asked to name the top 3 C-level execs who owned reputational risk, close to two-thirds say it was shared across the C-suite. 80 percent of CEOs indicated it was theirs to win, followed by 31 percent of CFOs, 27 percent of CIOs, 23 percent of CROs (Chief Risk Officers), and 22 percent of CMOs.
  • Five characteristics of highly effective companies — they get reputational risk and invest in it. Of those who do, 83 percent indicated they have integrated IT into their reputational risk management regimes. They also perceive stronger links between IT threats and key elements of reputation (especially customer sat and brand reputation), and they also say they have strong or very strong IT risk management capacity (84 percent). Seventy-seven percent indicated they have well-resourced IT risk management functions, and are more likely to require vendors and supply chain partners to meet the same levels of control as they require internally.

Improving Reputational Risk Management: Best Practices

So what’s a concerned C-level exec to do? The study revealed several core strategies:

  • Be proactive rather than reactive. That is, be prepared to invest in developing comprehensive reputational risk management strategies that include robust controls on IT risks, particularly those related to security, business continuity and tech support.
  • Create an organization where IT managers collaborate with other risk management specialists. Together, they should be tasked with presenting a comprehensive profile of organization-wide reputational risks to senior management.
  • Engage in scenario analysis, especially with new and emerging technology. Don’t wait for the worst to happen — there are plenty of case studies to be used as a basis for “what-if” planning.
  • Assess risks across the entire supply chain. A failure by a downstream supplier can be just as devastating as an internal problem, and risk controls can be harmonized among key players.

A More Integrated, Holistic Approach

This more integrated, enterprise-wide approach to risk management — led by the C-suite on down — can help your organization increase the attention being paid to the direct reputational impact of IT risks, and help you mitigate those risks (including those stemming from the use of new technologies).

To learn more and to gain access to the full study, go here.