The Dog Bowl of Big Data

Big data continues to confound the average marketer. The issue surrounds comprehending the data that matters.

Marketers need to understand how to use the technology. Big data has no value unless you can mine information sets to achieve better business outcomes.

Which data sets make for richer relationships with prospects and customers? How will it impact business? What should a marketer look for?

Go back to key performance indicators (KPIs). One worthwhile KPI might be return customers. Let’s apply that to both a hypothetical B2C and a B2B scenario.

If you are a retailer, instead of examining the immense amount of data produced from web site and social interactions, intentionally predetermine what will matter to your company. One thing we know about social media is that People Love Pets! They post pet pics, talk about them incessantly, and like everyone else’s pet pics.

See if you can find out how many of your potential customers own dogs. This might be available through Facebook targeted ads that reach not only your businesses topical area (e.g. fitness) in your region, but also dogs. Use your call to action (some great offering) to drive people to your web site and capture their email addresses.

If the response is significant, you may want to consider adding water bowls outside of your store, as well as complimentary dog treats at the counter. You K-9 loving customers will love it!

Image by Inside the Perimeter

But let’s say you are a B2B provider, perhaps an accounting firm. You run a similar ad campaign, and also find out that many of your potential clients own dogs. You can  add a survey question that asks customers if they own a cat or dog, and keep this data in your CRM or SaaS solution.

Now that your database information includes what kind of pets your customers have, be smart. Send your valued clients a dog or cat bowl branded with the company name and URL. Assuming they like the bowl (e.g. don’t be cheesy), every time your customers feed their animals, they’ll see your brand.

Both consumer and B2B examples show how “big data” can be leveraged to strengthen customer relationships. In both cases, you can measure return customers and see how the dog bowl initiatives are impacting loyalty.

Big data intimidates many marketers; in fact, 45 percent consider analyzing it to be their biggest digital marketing obstacle. But you don’t have to get lost in that sea of information. Just go a small step further.

A version of this post ran originally on the Vocus blog. Featured image by Nick Howells.


  • As a software solution provider, I love the power of Big Data. It has the power for you to go horribly wrong if you do not have the right data integration processes – and analysis – in place. However, you provide a great example where Big Data allows you to “give a little something extra” to your customers – that is totally unrelated to your service offerings. It simply shows that you care!

    • And really, isn’t that what marketing is all about? Context and relevance that builds and sustains relationships?

      • It is a marketing that is more appealing to me – as both a consumer and person building market awareness for our own products and services.

        I suck at sales, but I’m decent at adding value and building trust in relationships.

  • Data analysis is no small task. If one has mountains of data, though, they are that much closer to being able to dig into it and look for patterns, or hire someone who can. I love data.

    I’ve been toying with Adwords as a potential method of promoting my books. Books don’t make much per sale, so the conversion rate needs to be above average and the CPC must be well below average. These are two hurdles that may be insurmountable.

    That being said, my conversion rate is about what I expected and I’ve driven the CPC down from 60 cents to 28 cents thus far. I’m not anywhere near where I need to be, but the data I’m gathering is helping me to continue to improve. Of course, I was a data analyst before I was an author, so it is something I’m comfortable doing myself.

    The most helpful thing for me buried in the data is the patterns that emerge when one watches it for a while.

    Great post. Now, back to my data.

    p.s. Why doesn’t my picture come up anymore. :-(

    • Books are hard revenue drivers. I really try to build around them (at least the business books) and make secondary revenue paths with the book serving as the gravy for the meal.

      Interesting to hear about your AdWords experience. I have never been much of a fan as you need tens of thousands of people to create real revenue.

      With the avatar, create a Disqus account, and you should be mint!

  • What is the point of collecting it ad infinitum if it is not analyzed? Hmmm…

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