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BI can make marketing more appealing

Analytics can help personalise marketing messages, making them more relevant and appealing to customers, says Eighty20's Steve Burnstone.

Analytics can help personalise marketing messages, making them more relevant and appealing to customers, says Eighty20's Steve Burnstone.

Big data and analytics can be particularly usefully applied to personalising communications with customers in order to increase their loyalty, said Steve Burnstone, CEO at Eighty20 Consulting, at the ITWeb Business Intelligence Summit 2016 in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Businesses need to shift away from traditional, product-focused advertising models and focus on delivering advertising and promotional messages that are customer-focused and tailored to specific individuals, he said.

"The copy and the colours [of advertising messages] aren't going to be driving the right kind of [customer] response rates. It's [delivering] the right message to the right customer, at the right time, through the right channel," that will attract responses, Burnstone explained.

"There are few things more annoying that spam," but a timely and relevant message about a particular promotion or product can be helpful – although there is a fine line between the two, he noted. "Simple slicing and dicing of communication" to a small number of broad groups is more likely to fall on the former side of this line, Burnstone warned.

Burnstone repeatedly stated that personal relevance of a marketing message is more likely to drive customer response than any other factor, including timing, the creativity of the message, or even the economic value of the advertised offering itself.

One way companies can use big data to deliver relevant messages to customers is to use lists of banking transactions to divide them into broad demographic groups (for example parents of young children), and then use more detailed data (such as till slips detailing specific products bought) to establish more specific facts about them, such as their brand preferences and whether or not they tend to make use of promotional offers, Burnstone noted.

A significant potential disadvantage of such intensely personalised marketing, however, is that many customers may feel it to be invasive, Burnstone cautioned. Companies also need to measure the benefits of this use of analytics against the corporate cost incurred by labour and resources, he added.

It is important for businesses to establish feedback loops assessing customers' feelings towards the marketing targeting them, Burnstone said. These can take the form of surveys or quick, simple questions for customers to respond to, or behavioural analysis in the form of monitoring which messages customers respond to, he explained.


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