Big data and analytics have become the Holy Grail of marketing speak. Being more data driven has definitely become hip, but it’s not hype. Brands and marketers are using data to track customer journeys, to target and capture new customers, and to retain existing ones. Today’s consumers have come to expect a lot more from brands than simply the ability to make a purchase from them. They are looking for greater levels of interaction, better products, and faster and more responsive services. Big data can help brands deliver on these customer expectations. How? By offering rich insights that can enable brands to reach the right people with the right message for maximum impact.
So starts this article in Forbes describing how big data can help CPG companies learn how to reach new (and existing) customers by learning to use predictive analytics to gauge the buyer’s intent.
Existing DSRs, using POS and inventory data, can only tell you what the consumer has done in the past. It’s exponentially easier to see what buyers have done (in the past) than to predict what buyers will do in the future. Predicting is what we all want to be doing—so that we can anticipate what consumers want—perhaps even before they realize they want it themselves! This is where intent data comes in.
What Is Intent Data?
People leave behind crumbs of behavioral information every time they search the internet. Relevant bits of this info can be pieced together to gain insight into the intent of a buyer. This is intent data. Simply put, it’s information that tells you when a customer is ready to make a purchase. Now, intent-based marketing is nothing new. Think about cookie-based ads, Web analytics or marketing automation—we’ve been using these tools in marketing and ad targeting for years.
Are We Fully-Equipped To Leverage Intent Data?
The right use of intent data can definitely take personalized marketing to a whole new level. It can open windows to the buyer’s mind in a way we’ve never seen before. But the question remains, are we there yet in terms of measuring buyer intent?
A recent study by Forrester found that 78% of surveyed marketers believe using intent data can lead to better ad relevancy, and 67% think it could help them gain a competitive edge. However, inaccurate data (57%), inability to combine first and third-party data (49%), and not knowing how to feed intent data into targeting technology (54%) were cited as some of the biggest roadblocks of using intent data to reveal desired insights. Plus, the basic shortcomings, such as lack of proper technologies and limited human resources, indicate that marketers may not be fully equipped to benefit from intent-based targeting just yet.
I think we need to first overcome the basic challenges of capturing and making sense of the right data before we can use it to understand buyer intent—which for now, remains more or less a nebulous thing.
What is the Bottom Line for CPG Companies and CPG Marketers?
Using all the data that is available to you – from retailer supplied POS/Inventory data to other unstructured and “ad-hoc” data that can come from a category manager’s spreadsheet or from survey data from the internet. The trick is to have the right technology to bring in disparate data and often unstructured data to gain insights right now.
If you are tired of your old DSR company telling you it will be ‘next year’ before they can bring in your “unconventional data” – then you need another BI company. One that is built off of modern big data technology that allows you to incorporate new and ‘unstructured’ data in days not weeks, not ‘next year’ to gain insights into what the consumer is thinking now – not a year from now.
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