bigdataBig data is on everyone's lips. The amount of data, which is collected by companies, authorities and other institutions, is continuously growing.

According to a current EMC study, the potentials of using the collected big data so far are insufficiently developed, though big data represents a major competitive advantage, as 63% of companies surveyed confirm in an IBM study. According to the study "The big potential of big data" by Forbes and Rocket Fuel, about three-quarters of the companies that use big data for more than 50% of their marketing activities could increase their sales, their ROI, customer satisfaction and the number of suitable sales leads - and 85% of them could deepen the insights about their users.

Therefore, it is not surprising that many companies continue driving big data projects forward. According to a current EMC study, companies are engaged on average on about 2.5 big data projects, which benefits mainly the areas of digital marketing, and especially online dialogue marketing.

The target is to draw information of user preferences from the available information

Modern online dialogue marketing is individualized lifecycle marketing, that appeals to the user in a targeted manner at any specific point of the customer lifecycle with the exact communication corresponding to his current preferences. In order to be able to generate the information in relation to the user preferences, it is important to first collect personal user information, which has been left behind by the user at a wide range of (digital) touch points. This can be, for example, transaction data from online shops and bonus systems, response data from email marketing campaigns or other digital touch points. The mapping of this data to a dedicated user profile can be developed through the use of various analytical tools (profiling). From scoring models up to complex data mining procedures, marketing insights can be gained about the individual users: Is there a particularly high affinity for specific products? Are there cross-selling or up-selling potentials? How high is his willingness to pay? At what times and for what types of offers and through which communication channel are consumers most responsive?

In most cases, it is still a fact that the data is collected but not properly used

The marketing potential of big data still is mostly untapped. “Collect data first and see later what can be done with it” – this is the most common approach by many companies. It is also very common that data is collected which is not useful. The potentially useful data is often inadequately prepared: unstructured, not tagged, stored in the wrong places and sometimes not even legally safe. This means a significant effort to harness this data in an appropriate manner later. Companies must therefore move away from the aimless storage of user data. Instead, it is essential from the outset to only gather data that is really relevant and needed, and to manage it in a structured manner as well as to guarantee legal compliance of the collected data.

What data is needed in the online dialogue marketing depends on the goals in the respective companies as well as the measures chosen to meet these objectives of the specific marketing task. It is first necessary to define which types of customization for each action is useful, so it can clearly increase the success of the measure. The next question is: What information about the user is necessary for this customization? And only after this: What data is needed to generate this useful information using the existing methods of analysis? Once the needed data for the individual communication is determined, all available touch-points have to be checked to ensure whether the required data may be levied there. One key point to keep in mind is that personal user data may be levied only with the explicit consent of the user. One of the biggest challenges for online dialogue marketing therefore is to obtain the necessary consent from the user, in order to assure a legal data usage management framework.

By Roger Stadler