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How data drives results

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Having a wealth of data at your fingertips will help most companies gain a competitive edge. But, too much data can be overwhelming and in some cases useless. RICHARD MULLINS, MD of Acceleration shares 4 ways that marketers can use data to better shape their campaigns.

Data – and lots of it – is perhaps the single most important consequence of the shift from analogue marketing to digital marketing over the past 20 years. Marketers today have a wealth of data, much of it real-time or near real-time at their fingertips – including their own CRM, web analytics, ad tracking, and transactional data as well as external data sources such as social media, government databases, 3rd party data sources and market research.

Sure, marketers have always used information such as point of sale transactions, market research, and direct mail responses to inform their decision-making, but today, they have unprecedented quantities of data to draw on to shape their campaigns. It’s not just the volume of data that makes it such a challenge and opportunity for marketers. It’s also the variety of the data – structured and unstructured data from internal and external sources – as well as its velocity – the rapid pace at which data is being created.

Faced with this deluge, CMOs need to think more about how they will put the data to work and less about the underlying technologies. Here are a few of the ways that big data can be leveraged to drive real business outcomes:

More intelligent and granular customer segmentation

Marketers can look for patterns in data that can help them to refine their customer segmentation strategies so that they can deliver more personalised experiences to consumers. With rich data about customers’ behaviour and spending patterns, they can create sophisticated messaging and offers that are highly relevant to granular and profitable market segments.

They can also understand what keeps customers from different segments coming back for more, and ensure they give customers what they want, when they want it.

Price optimisation

Because companies such as airlines, retailers and hotels operate on razor-thin margins and serve price-sensitive customers, smart pricing decisions can make an enormous impact on profitability.

With insight into customer behaviour from their own system and pricing data from external sources, organisations can optimise pricing for different customers and transactions. They can thus avoid losing a potential customer by pricing too high while minimising the danger of pricing too low and leaving potential profits on the table.

Get more bang for the media planning buck

With access to well-structured data, marketers can be far more discriminating about how and where they allocate digital advertising budgets. Before spending their money, they can ensure that they’re targeting the right people. The likes of Facebook, for example, can offer targeting options that go much further than the basics of age, location and gender. After they spend their money, marketers can track results by a wide range of metrics; for example, conversions or profitability of customers acquired through different channels and continue to enhance their marketing efficiencies.

Bridging the gap between the offline and online worlds

Data isn’t just about the Internet – the reach of digital also extends into the physical world. In future, marketers can be expected to make more use of geolocation and contextual data (with consumers’ permission, of course) to track customers’ behaviour in their stores and to target them with relevant information on their mobile devices, through near field communication devices (NFC). Even more possibilities will open up as connected cars and homes become a reality – the Internet of Things (IoT) will create new opportunities for data-driven customer engagement. Companies will need to start aligning their business strategies, structures and technology to the customer, the data and speed of personal relevance.

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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