Big Data and Mobile - From Hype to Hands-On

The big hype around big data is over. That’s the good news that Gartner’s 2014 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies delivered. After dominating headlines for years, it has passed the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’ and is slowly making its way down the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’.

In simpler terms: it’s time to get real about big data. Meaning that yes, there’s a lot of data, and that yes, it’s volatile, but in the end it’s still data: pieces of intelligence that businesses can harness to drive better business results.

Mobile went through a very similar trajectory. Let’s be honest; how many times haven’t we heard pundits say – “this is the year of mobile”? Finally though, the overexposure is dying down as companies truly embrace mobile as a powerful enabler of building and maintaining stronger relationships.

And that’s exactly where Big Data and Mobile come together.

Obsessed with customers

Savvy marketers are leveraging data to compete in competitive markets such as finance, retail and telecommunications. They do so because they need to be, as Forrester noted in their 2013 paper on the future of CRM, “obsessed with understanding, delighting, connecting with, and serving customers.”

In the quest to serve this need for an obsession with customers, mobile devices are key. They are consumers’ most personal devices, always on, and through the technology that they carry able to capture much more (and much more relevant) data then any of their cord-donning relatives.

While leveraging mobile to generate Big Data sounds more like a Big Undertaking than a quick exercise, it doesn’t have to be all that complicated, thanks to these three relatively straightforward steps:

1. Map out your customers’ journey. Don’t just focus on what’s relevant to your brand. Try to truly understand customers’ ups, downs, wants and needs. If they’re a financial trader, what does their day look like? If they’re a mom-to-be, what do they go through from the moment they find out they’re pregnant?

2. Spot engagement opportunities along the journey. Is the mom-to be looking for a name for her baby and overwhelmed by the many articles and websites promising her just that? Is the investor manually searching for financial news based on his portfolio? Now overlay that with the data you’re looking to extract from your customers and determine the overlap.

3. Create value for both you and your customer. This is where it gets fun. Dream up a worthwhile value exchange between your customer and you. In return for a baby name based on a clever algorithm, would the mom-to-be offer up access to loyalty cards stored on her phone? Would the trader occasionally give up his whereabouts in return for a personalized financial news service?

Even though we’re talking mobile here, please don’t fall for the “mobile for brands means branded apps” trap. Broaden your thinking and explore options such as partnering with an already successful third-party app. Think about beacons that promise hyperlocation in stores. Think about wearables or connected cars that are constantly recording streams of valuable data.

If you can do this, you will triumph, as you’re banking on existing user behavior to build better relationships that are profitable both for you and your customer. Now who was talking about disillusionment again?

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