Money is in the Data

Patti Renner Shop.org, this year in Denver, brings together thousands of people interested in online retail success. From the show floor to the speakers, the ideas and energy is enough to light up the Rocky Mountain sky.
Of the many sessions and keynotes heard, it’s probably not a surprise that Bryan Eisenberg was among my favorite presenters. His topic? Big Data. Where many marketers believe “money is in the list,” the reality today is that money is in your data.

Eisenberg defines Big Data as anything too big to fit into an excel sheet. And when you consider his “fun fact” that we are creating more data every two days (as in 48 hours) than even existed between the dawn of time through 2003. Well, there’s a lot of information out there.

The question is what to do with it all. Brands know more about their customer than ever before. There are heat maps of site visits, of in-store visits, of purchase and preferences… so much information to bring us the rewards of deeper insights and terrific ROI. But Eisenberg points out the gap between having that information and getting the results. The data alone isn’t enough. You have to DO something with it to get the holy grail of results.

The explosion of data may be seen as a headache for marketers, but with the right partners, it can offer a huge competitive advantage. Consider Amazon. Ten years ago, they were a struggling wannabe. Thanks to their vision and savvy use of big data, they dominate online retail.

Using Amazon as the “do things right” example in the use of data to drive conversions (I could name others), here are some tips from the session to guide you.

  1. “If it lives in silos, you’re screwed.” Eisenberg bluntly shared that if the data you collect is not actionable in real time – if your data does not provide insights that you can use because it’s stuck in multiple platforms or in multiple departments within your organization – you need to fix things.
  2. Get the right people in place to help you deal with and make use of your data. You need to consider data scientists, analysts and architects. Consider predictive analytics tools and software to help automate personalization and relevance based on the data collected. Get a dashboard view of what’s happening across channels.
  3. Make the investment, but avoid getting caught up in the hype of if all. Big data is here, but that doesn’t mean that creative now have to be math people. It does mean that you must prepare your organization for a “Money Ball” approach to the use of your data. Share case studies of other brands who are getting things right. Identify what metrics truly matter.
  4. Help with Big Data is out there. Automation tools, data management platforms, consultants… there are resources available to help map your data and make sense of it all.

One Comment

  1. bryanthegrokeisenberg
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the kind words. You did a great job in this summary of my presentation.


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