Let’s talk about big data. Whether it’s structured or unstructured the value of data can’t be emphasized enough. Having data even if you don’t know what to do with it yet is a very important step. Data is always valuable, even years down the road. Some might argue that in today’s information age, data is one of the most valuable commodities a business can invest in.
Unstructured Data is the raw uncleaned byproduct of marketing automation. Collecting insights about how your audience is engaging with your on-site and even off-site content creates large enough pools of information from which you can eventually draw inferences.
That’s where Structured Data comes in. This is what we call actionable data. We can use this data to inform decisions. We can use this data to change vectors in our strategy or to improve administrative processes. This data helps us identify opportunities and even weaknesses.
With Marketing Automation you gain superhuman insights into the unique and specific behaviors of your audience. These insights are timeless and will hold value for years as you refer to them when designing new strategies.
There’s a famous story among marketing professionals about Target’s use of big data. In 2012 Target decided that they would implement purchase tracking campaigns that when structured based on 25 types of purchases would isolate customers that were likely to give birth in the near future. The goal was to predict a plethora of selling opportunities based on the common needs that mothers of newborns would have, and create new segments based on this data.
Well needless to say this campaign was remarkable successful but what Target failed to forecast was the potential drama this success would bring.
A man walked into a Target outside Minneapolis and demanded to see the manager. He was clutching coupons that had been sent to his daughter, and he was angry that Target was sending his 17-year-old daughter coupons for child rearing products.
As it turns out Target actually knew something the father didn’t yet know. In a last ditch attempt to save their reputation and hopefully overt a media disaster, Target representatives contacted the gentleman to personally apologize and make reparations. On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”
Big data can be very powerful but as they say, with great power comes greater responsibility.