Guest Post: How Digital Technology Is Transforming Customer Data Collection

Digital business is increasing the potential monetary value of data, but most companies aren’t leveraging this valuable resource. Smart devices, mobile technology and social media are increasing the volume and variety of customer data available at an accelerated rate, turning data brokering into a multibillion dollar business while simultaneously making data more affordable than ever. General information about consumers is now available for about $0.50 per 1,000 people, estimates the Financial Times. Read on for the trends that are transforming data collection and the tools that smart companies are using to turn data into profit.

Internet of Things

One of the biggest technology trends is the increasing presence of smart electronic devices, a trend known as the Internet of Things (IoT). Earlier stages of the Internet were centered around personal computers and then mobile phones, and now the Internet of Things includes all sorts of smart devices, from smart houses to smart TVs to smart cars, watches and clothes.

All these devices collect data that is centered around the consumers who use these devices. This enables businesses to organize their market research and advertising efforts around the totality of data as well as individual uses, a trend known as marketing personalization. The Internet of Things means that the data collected can conceivably be used to personalize ads they see in their car, at work and while shopping.

Location-Based Data

The Internet of Things forms a digital mesh that enables consumers and their data to be pinpointed by location. Smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note5 are GPS-enabled, allowing marketers to collect data on their location and deliver personalized messages that appeal to customers at specific locations.

One of the emerging applications of this is beacon marketing, which identifies when customers are entering stores to deliver customized coupons, discounts and other special offers. For instance, Hillshire Brands saw a 36 percent increase in brand awareness and a 20 percent increase in purchase intent by using beacon technology.

Context-Sensitive Data

Data collection is becoming more context-sensitive. For instance, a webpage that displays well on a desktop screen needs to adjust to be viewable on a smaller mobile device screen. This means that the site needs to collect context-sensitive data about the viewer’s device and screen size.

Another context-sensitive use of data is retargeted advertising, when information gathered on one device follows users as they use other devices. For instance, Yahoo recently added a feature to its Gemini ad marketplace that enables advertisers to send retargeted ads to customers on websites, apps and Yahoo interest categories based on their browsing behavior.

Social Media Data

One of the most important data collection sources is social media. CMS Wire reports that 90 percent of the data available today was collected over the past two years and 80 percent of it came from social media use.

Social sites are seeking to capitalize on this, with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google and YouTube all introducing buy button features last year. In 2016, social media brand engagement and buying will drive data collection, predicts Brandwatch.


About the Author

Roy Rasmussen, coauthor of Publishing for Publicity, is a freelance copywriter who helps small businesses get more customers and make more sales. His specialty is helping experts reach their target market with a focused sales message. His most recent projects include books on cloud computing, small business management, sales, business coaching, social media marketing, and career planning.


Adobe’s Marketing Cloud Shows How Super Bowl Can Be a Gamble in New Campaign

Yes, the Superbowl has passed, but I couldn’t pass up this story. In a new campaign called “The Gambler,” Adobe’s Marketing Cloud showed how advertising in the Super Bowl can be a big bet for CMOs. You can watch the clip here:

What’s the Video About? The TV and video campaign, created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and directed by feature film director J.C. Chandor, opens with two men sitting at a dive bar watching the Super Bowl on TV. One of the men is a nervous-looking businessman in a suit, and the other is a street-wise gambler.

“How much you in for?” asks the gambler, assuming the businessman is betting on the game. When the CMO answers “$4 million,” the gambler is stunned.

“And the scariest part is, it’s not even my money. There are going to be a lot of unhappy people if this doesn’t pay off,” the CMO says.

He’s talking about his 30-second TV ad, of course, for his cream cheese brand. And when it does not go over well, the gambler buys the CMO a drink.

The ad ends with the question, “Do you know what your marketing is doing?”

So What’s the Point of the Ad? “The ad tells the story of a CMO who didn’t look at the data, and is hoping that one big ad for his cream cheese company will do something amazing — but the odds are it won’t work out that way for him,” said Alex Amado, VP-experience marketing at Adobe. “Brands that don’t take that data into account are gambling with their company’s money.”

The ad is the latest in a series of humorous spots for Adobe Marketing Cloud — including its 2013 “Click Baby, Click” and last year’s “Mean Streets” — which show what can happen when CMOs don’t know what their marketing dollars are doing.

So What Is Adobe Marketing Cloud Video Really About? The Data! Adobe, which has never bought an ad in the Super Bowl, decided to capitalize on this “moment in time” in which marketers are thinking about advertising, Mr. Amado said. “We are absolutely not anti-TV advertising — we are pro-data,” he said.

In fact, Adobe is running the spot on late-night TV shows including “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Saturday Night Live” the night before the Super Bowl.

But it’s focusing a large portion of its media buy on a targeted video campaign, which launches today, on sites geared toward marketers with an interest in the Super Bowl, including USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter and CBS News’ 50 Greatest Super Bowl commercials.

“The biggest place we’re advertising is in the spaces that host conversations around the Super Bowl,” Mr. Amado said. “It’s a great place to reinforce our message about Adobe Marketing Cloud and being data-driven.”

The campaign also includes a large social media effort, including paid advertising on Twitter and LinkedIn. “LinkedIn works really well for us from a b-to-b perspective, because we can target our key audience — marketers — by their titles,” Mr. Amado said.

My POV: This was an interesting way to make the point that this ain’t your grandpa’s marketing anymore. It takes a lot more sophistication and data is definitely part of the game. So my point is you have to be on the field to even begin playing the game. So get on the field, come to love data and win with it. You’ll be glad you did when you start to see your campaign bring in a winning steak.

@DrNatalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

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