October 24, 2016

In part one of this three-part blog series, we looked at how Big Data analytics can help businesses make smart decisions as they undertake lead generation efforts. It’s important to use the information you have about your prospective customers to create poignant branding that will resonate with their values. This not only makes a strong, relevant first impression on consumers; it also boosts the chances that they’ll buy what you’re selling.

However, no business has ever survived by just selling a single product to each customer. That first sale is just a small part of a bigger business model in which the ultimate goal is to retain customer loyalty.

Now that you have the customer’s foot in the door, let’s look at how advanced analytics can help businesses accelerate buying behavior.

The importance of the “business moment”

Anyone who has watched “Minority Report” is no doubt familiar with the idea of the retina scanner that allows people to hear personalized ads as they’re walking in public spaces. While some might say this is where we’re headed, the scene is actually a perfect example of what not to do when trying to accelerate buying behavior. Careless cascades of promotional material go in one ear and out the other. There’s a science to capturing that second-time sale, and it’s not about bulk. Rather, it’s about knowing how to identify what Gartner refers to as the perfect “business moment.”

Take the example of beacon technology. Deals and coupons can be transmitted to shoppers’ smartphones in brick-and-mortar locations to make the in-store experience more like online browsing. Part of the reason these revolutionary devices have yet to do much revolutionizing, according to Forrester analyst Adam Silverman, is that they’ve not been used in a way that markedly leads to business moments. The proximity factor helps narrow down efforts based on location, but that’s hardly enough.

Analyze data at all times, in real time

Advanced analytics all but make a business decision for you.Advanced analytics all but make a business decision for you.

A more effective method is to constantly aggregate and analyze data about consumers that can actually be used to predict how and when to market specific products or services to existing customers. To go back to the example of beacon technology, it’s not enough to simply greet customers with a smartphone push notification, which according to Silverman, is the main way retailers have used them.

However, Wired contributor Brian Barrett noted that some organizations are using beacon technology to take what they already know about customers and accelerate buying behavior in that moment. He cited the example of fans at sporting venues being offered better seats while at the game.

“[T]he Golden State Warriors, for instance, use beacons to make nose-bleed ticket holders aware of seat upgrade offers during the game,” Barrett wrote.

Insights from up-to-date data analytics can be applied in so many ways, with the same end goal: to anticipate what customers want or need, and make it easy for them to buy it.

“Anticipate what customers want or need, and make it easy for them to buy it.”

One of the most notable examples of this is how Target uses predictive analytics. The retailing giant started marketing maternity wear to a teenager before her own father knew she was pregnant. At first, the man was irate that his high-school aged daughter was receiving these advertisements, but he later apologized to a representative after learning that Target was not wrong. The company was most likely able to deduce that the girl was expecting based on former purchases or searches she performed via the online store.

With data analytics, this same capability can be applied to any number of customer or client scenarios, and the result is the ability to make smarter, more responsive decisions in real time that can accelerate buying behavior.

A competitive edge

The importance of compounding business moments, both before and after the initial sale, is pivotal to getting prospective customers to choose you over the competition. What’s more, it can lead to a higher rate of sales. For example, the very fact that it’s so easy for a fan attending a Golden State Warriors’ game to upgrade at any minute via a smartphone creates an entire new set of sales opportunities for the franchise.

In essence, the goal here is to add extra steps to the customer journey, not for the sake of complicating it, but rather, to enhance it with relevant offerings. This is an ongoing process that demands constant, real-time, advanced analysis of the data that is available to your organization. Only then, can you create business moments that will boost your bottom line.

This is part two of a three-part blog series about transforming the customer journey with advanced analytics