Evolution is fundamental to human existence, it is also fundamental to business existence. Businesses that do not evolve to the opportunities of tomorrow will be left behind. This is particularly important for the way they use data.
The way in which data can contribute to effective marketing is astonishing, and the technology and future technologies that are/will be available regarding data are evolving at a rapid pace. The world’s technological per-capita capacity to store information has roughly doubled every 40 months since the 1980s, and as of 2012, every day 2.5 exabyte’s of data are created. This goes to demonstrate the growing opportunities and capabilities for data in the future.
Let’s take a look back to the way the use of data for business growth has evolved over time:
1950’s – 80’s: Handwritten notes, internal discussion
Letting the new employee know that Mrs. Smith is a regular and you can discount the bananas to 1 pound per kilo, is an example of the beginnings of using data for business growth.
So, this might not be ‘data’ in the exact sense, but the passing of this customer information was the foundation of data capture and loyalty marketing best practice. It was about making sure the ‘Mrs. Smith’s’ of the world kept coming back to buy from you.
1980’s – 90’s: Contact lists and spreadsheets
We’re talking handwritten, old school notes, and spreadsheets for keeping your entire customer contact information together. This was data capture in its crudest form and it was the beginning of something beautiful. Diaries and address books, with notes scribbled in the margin, they were simpler times.
1990’s – Present: Third party data
Acquiring data through third party sources has been around for a while; however, third party data and its application is something that is still evolving today. Third party data can be used for acquisition- having more prospects to contact, as well as for enhancing, cleaning and better understanding your own database.
2000’s – Present: CRM systems
CRM systems involve using technology to organise, automate, and synchronise sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support. These systems are highly intelligent and the love child of customer orientation and technology.
2010 – Present: Big data
The term ‘big data’ seemed to really hit its stride in the late noughties. Big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate.
The challenge for large enterprises is determining who should own big data initiatives that connect the entire organisation.
2015 – Content is King
B2B buyers are now engaging in self-educating behavior, which is forcing marketers to adapt from outbound, or push, marketing techniques, such as print advertising or direct mail, to inbound, or pull, techniques, like websites or blogging. Rapid technology changes provide a range of options for marketers these days and finding the right channel mix is still as important today as it’s ever been.
Data technologies will continue to grow rapidly, it will be important to invest in these technologies, move with the times, and learn from those around you.