Today, the sheer volume of customer data that is available to businesses is staggering. Not only are companies able to access data about their own customers but they can also use information found in public records, on social media sites, and through other sources to identify and target potential customers.

By asking the right questions when looking at this data, businesses can fine-tune their digital marketing strategies to have the greatest possible effect. Here are five creative ways that big data is currently being used to improve marketing campaigns, resulting in more sales.


Using data for product development and as a targeting tool for marketing

One way to see how data can be used to develop new products is by looking at an example. In this case, imagine that the loan department at a bank is interested in creating new mortgage-related products. By gathering data about existing mortgage products with a focus on specific demographics, it is possible to see exactly where customer interest lies. Using this information, the loan department can develop new products that are specifically targeted to the needs of their customers in each demographic.

Nearly half of all marketers who use big data rely on it to provide them with information on how customers behave. Based on that information, they then create highly-targeted marketing campaigns that are specifically geared toward the needs of their customers.

There are countless real-world examples out there of how data is being used by companies to make their marketing more effective. Studying these examples is a great way to get concrete ideas about how you can put data to work for your business.


Creating more effective marketing through the use of data that is gathered in real time

One of the most exciting ways to use big data is as a tool for analyzing real-time events. The information that is gathered can then allow businesses to create targeted marketing campaigns that reach consumers at the exact moment when they are most likely to make a purchase.

A great example of this can be seen in a recent marketing strategy used by Red Roof Inn. Many of the companies hotels are located in the immediate vicinity of airports. The company learned that many travelers wound up being stuck at the airport due to canceled flights. By using big data to gather information on canceled flights, the company created mobile advertising campaigns that were specifically targeted to stranded travelers at local airports. This simple marketing technique has resulted in a 10% overall increase in the amount of revenue the company generates in these specific areas.

Using data science is a great way to take advantage of real-time events and situations to increase your sales.


Using big data in partnership with other companies

Although it may seem strange, many companies are banding together to put big dated to use as a marketing tool. An excellent example of this can be seen with the partnership between the Weather Channel, Pantene, and Walgreens.

In this example, the Weather Channel gathers data about how the weather affects people’s moods and feelings. They then use this information as a predictive tool for determining how consumers will behave depending on the weather.

This information is then provided to advertisers to allow them to create targeted advertising campaigns. In the case of Walgreens and Pantene, their partnership with the Weather Channel is designed to let them know when humidity levels in a specific region rise. Based on this information, the companies can increase their advertising for hair products that are designed to combat the frizz caused by humidity. This campaign, which was given the name “haircast”, increased Walgreens sales of Pantene by 10% and led to an overall increase of 4% in sales of all hair-care related products.


Using data to provide customers with a better experience

Providing customers with a good experience is one of the fundamental keys to running a successful business. Using big data is an excellent way to make sure that users have a good experience when visiting a company’s website.

For instance, Amazon carefully tracks all of its visitors, gathering information on the products that they look at and the searches that they conduct. This data is compiled and sorted, with customers who display similar behaviors being grouped together. This allows Amazon to effectively predict what products people would be interested in based on their past behavior. Not only does this make it easier for Amazon to create targeted marketing but it also improves the overall customer experience by introducing them to products that they would find valuable.

Netflix uses a similar technique to provide its customers with a better experience. By tracking the shows and movies that customers watch, Netflix can use a special algorithm to analyze customers with similar tastes so they can make suggestions for other shows they may enjoy.

This type of highly-individualized marketing provides customers with an excellent experience and makes marketing campaigns far more effective.


Increasing loyalty from customers

One of the best ways to build a consistent income stream for a business is by finding long-term customers who keep coming back again and again. Retaining current customers is a much more cost-effective solution than trying to find new customers. Using big data, people in charge of marketing can increase customer loyalty through targeted marketing.

For instance, by evaluating the purchases of women who shop at the store, Target can predict when a woman is in the earliest stages of pregnancy. Using this information, they can then create targeted advertising messages for other products that they may need throughout their pregnancy. This type of marketing helps create customer loyalty, making these customers more likely to return for products in the future, even after they give birth to their baby.

Big data can also be beneficial for keeping customers informed, which can improve customer loyalty. A great example of this can be seen with how Costco handled a recent listeria scare. Every purchase that a customer makes is tracked. Recently, there was a scare where pitted fruit was potentially infected with listeria. Based on the tracking information they had gathered, Costco was able to notify members who had purchased pitted fruit during a specific timeframe, letting them know about the risk.