Data that matters

Mass-scale one-to-one commerce is the great promise of eCommerce.  We’re embarking on the era of mass customization in general, and that’s going to come to fruition first in the ways that companies communicate closely withe their individual consumers.  Relevance is the new holy grail.

At this year’s NRF in New York, Zac Davis, founder of Stylitics, Bryon Colby of Cornerstone Brands, Nicolas Francet of Facebook, and John Mulliken, founder of Joss & Main, discussed how data can change marketing for the better—no matter which side of the equation you sit on.  Personalization, according to Davis, is delivering the right message at the right time on the right channel. Bryon Colby of Gilt Group agreed, saying that building a relevant experience in every channel is the point.  This is a change in philosophy from the campaign model.

Color IQ by Sephora is a good example of this changing philosophy in action.  It takes existing data about a customer and creates from it a color ID which can help someone select makeup.  Armed with this, the retailer can send the right deals and right messaging to its customer, confident that the message is relevant.

Mulliken took that idea further. “Though we have plenty of data based on product purchasing, there’s more to a customer than that….  There is so much curation now that curation needs to be curated!”  To give a consumer what she wants you have to understand her personality, not just what products she likes.

With Mulliken’s admonition in mind, here are four aspects of data to consider.

1. Make it meaningful. To use data creatively, you have to turn it into something that can be absorbed and appreciated by humans—not machines.

2. Empower the marketing team and help them learn everything they can about their consumers.  How can marketers come up with great ideas if they don’t know the customers?

3. Don’t overpersonalize.  You can overdo it, especially if the consumer hasn’t opted in.

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