BIG DATA in events

Ever increasing scores of companies are developing ways of – or are already longtime active in – offering their products and services online.  Companies are investing growing amounts of time and resources to online marketing strategies and campaigns to leverage customer loyalty and engagement in order to keep ahead of the competition.  Organizers of meetings and events are reluctantly slow adapting to the same practices.

One of the most important steps towards ultimate customer loyalty is in-depth, metrics based customer segmentation.  Going online with your company implies a larger, more international and heterogeneous customer base and thus more data.  But even for your real life event offer, you will need to know your customer better in the future, just to retain his/her attention and desire to participate.

Facing an explosion of available and collectible data on each individual customer, achieving solid segmentation becomes an even more challenging task.  So the question emerges, is big data worthwhile ?

Bit size data segments

To keep big data manageable, it’s considered to be good practice to breakdown the data.  Most client data collected online can be grouped in these categories :

  • contextual data : interests (identified and profiled), web pages visited, visited sponsors/exhibitors, …
  • attitudinal data : number of interactions, number of clicked ads or banners, number of visited pages,…
  • behavioral data : number of recurrent visits to your site, average visit duration, type of product bought,…
  • demographic data : age, sex, address, Facebook or Twitter id,…
  • loyalty data : number of complaints, number of recurring event visits, engagement score,…
  • value data : average amount spent on products, score for expected profitability,…
  • technical data : used operating system, used browser, Flash version,…
  • referral data : referral page, used search words,…

Breaking down the data into these categories has proven very effective to setting and achieving marketing goals.  Academic research has revealed that data segmentation supports the most important online marketing goals, such as increasing up- and cross-selling numbers, attracting new clients and improving churn rates.  The categories of attitudinal and behavioral data are well suited for supporting almost every goal, whereas demographic data is less effective, because of privacy restrictions prohibiting massive online collection of this type of data.  On top of that, although it’s usually the type of data that’s used when segmenting for events, it’s totally irrelevant towards target groups’ interests.

If after reading this part, you’re still wondering what big data is and how it distinguishes from regular data, then read my previous blog post (in Dutch).

Big data challenges

Companies are feeling overwhelmed with massive amounts of data and information.  So how do you manage that ?  Before this explosion occurred, companies were faced with less amounts of data and mostly structured, primarily disclosed in such applications as ERP (Entreprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management).  Today, together with the breakthrough of internet based platforms, not only the size of databases has increased tremendously, but also the complexity of the information.  Data can nowadays be stored in structured or unstructured ways, in video, audio and pictures, not just in text.  Managing this and turning it into valuable insights, requires new work methods.

Big data and traditional data not only vary in volume, structure and transaction speed, but also require new tools and technologies.  Today many data management techniques are used in big data that have a common background from the techniques used in traditional data : classification, clustering, regression, time series analysis and A/B testing, to name a few.  But Big Data demands new techniques that empower companies to store, process and analyse vast amounts of unstructured data originating from different sources in various types and sizes.  Big data also requires new and improved visualization methods and tools.  Ways to display all that collected data that are comprehensive for humans, so they can actually use it to make business decisions.

Is big data a joy or a burden ?

It’s a joy if you find the appropriate way to derive knowledge from the data.  Segmenting client data plays an important role in this game.  It will substantially contribute to making better and semi-automated decisions on marketing strategies and tactics to increase the customer engagement.

Start planning for big data today if you’re in the event industry.  There’s no way it will not impact your business in the future.  Big data is directly linked to the way your future customers behave today.  Look for my next blog post in which I will try to depict your John Doe customer of 2015.

Don’t take BIG DATA lightly or as a pure IT-problem and get expert help.

 

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