If you’ve been paying any attention at all to marketing and tech trends in the last few years, you’ve probably already read the reports and seen the stats: Big data is out there, and it’s, well, big. With numbers so huge they sound almost ridiculous (2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created every day, for one example), it can be tough to wrap your mind around what it all means.
In the e-commerce space, big data can mean big opportunities for brands to better analyze, engage with, and strategically market to their audiences— and tech companies provide the tools and expertise to get them there. For consumers, big data now presents itself as a form of currency: I give you my information, you give me a better online experience. With the rise of mobile, today’s connected consumer is generating more information at a more frenetic pace than ever before. While the average person doesn’t always fully grasp what exactly that information is (data collected from tracking someone’s shopping preferences via algorithm is not as straightforward as, say, data collected from someone filling out a form on a website), in general, there’s widespread understanding that pretty much all online activity is now being tracked, analyzed and exploited by someone.
Where baby boomers and gen X’ers are typically more hesitant to hand over their data (and can be suspicious of digital experiences that feel a little too targeted), millennials are warily welcoming and gen Z more or less demands it. To set your company apart and generate brand loyalty, it’s no longer enough to simply provide experiences that are fast and easy; connected consumers now expect each touchpoint and digital experience to be personalized. If customers are going to be forced to give up their data—and, let’s face it, there’s really no avoiding that—then they want to get something in return. Whether that’s special deals based on their past purchases or a homepage of suggested items customized to their taste, a good personalized experience can make a customer feel remembered and understood without feeling creepy.
So, where do tech companies come into all this? With powerful new advances in data science like machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing, tech companies that provide data services are at a distinct advantage over those who don’t. As brands rush to differentiate themselves from the competition by providing the ever-more personalized and targeted experiences connected consumers are demanding, finding a technology partner with the skills and experience to engineer all that data and make it useful will become increasingly critical. In today’s connected marketplace, brands have got to get ahead of big data if they want to succeed–just falling in line is falling behind.