The emergence of user-generated content in fora, newsgroups, social media and crowd-sourcing platforms are offering endless opportunities for researchers and practitioners to ‘listen’ to marketplace stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, investors and the media.
Unlike the traditional transactional records that were conspicuous in past legacy systems, e-commerce systems continuously gather insightful data from the web. Much of the value of data is derived from secondary uses that were not intended in the first place.
Every dataset can possess some intrinsic, hidden, not-yet-unearthed value. Having said this, many potential applications could skim along the edges of what might be ethical, moral or even legal.
Online review sites and personal blogs often contain opinion-rich information that may be explored through textual and sentiment analysis. Arguably, consumer sentiment analysis may not be designed for automation but could be better adapted for the real-time monitoring of the marketing environment. Successful businesses strive to understand their customers’ personas so that they target them through the right content with the relevant tone, imagery and value propositions.
Therefore, advertisers continuously gather consumer data and strive to take advantage of their consumers’ cognitive behaviour as they try to uncover and trigger consumer frailty at their individual level.
It may appear that companies gather data on their customers in order to manipulate the market. They need to establish processes that determine when specific decisions are required. Firms use big data to delve into enormous volumes of information that they collect, generate or buy.
Marketers need to realise that it’s important to analyse, decide and act expeditiously on data and analytics. It’s simply not enough to monitor a continuing stream of information.
Marketers need to analyse, decide and act expeditiously on data and analytics
Companies may use what they know about human psychology, and when firms hold detailed information about their consumers, they may customise every aspect of their interaction with them. On the other hand, customers are frequently bombarded with marketing endeavours and one-size-fits-all messages that could also have negative implications for prospective customers.
Firms could use this database to remind customers about their offerings. Consumer lists – whether automated or in the cloud – should be used to enhance customer experiences. Customer-centric marketing is all about satisfying buyers, who in turn become advocates for the business. Technology has become instrumental for marketers in their ongoing interactions with people.
Without data, businesses could not keep track of their marketing effectiveness and performance. Engagement metrics, including e-mail open rates, click-through rates, pay per click and such, enable marketers to fine tune their individual customer targeting.
Many people are becoming active on review sites, such as Yelp.com or Tripadvisor; and on social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or Google Plus. These digital marketing tools help firms to engage in social conversations with consumers.
Social media networks are often rich in customer opinion and contain relevant behavioural information. Moreover, social media analytics could capture fast-breaking trends on customer sentiments toward products, brands and companies.
Businesses may be interested to know whether there are changes in online sentiment and how these correlate with sales changes over time. Digital media is supporting businesses to map out how customers receive promotions, messages, newsletters and even advertisements. Relevant data is also helping these businesses to keep a focus on their customer needs and wants.
There is clearly scope for businesses to consider realigning (and personalising) their incentives toward individual consumers by using data-driven marketing.