Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan
16Nov/111

Uncovering 21st Century Consumer Behavior with Business Intelligence

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This post on BI for retailers is co-authored along with Raj Kutty, CEO of iVEDiX.

Retailers are frequently challenged with a new definition of multi-channel marketing. The marketing landscape includes more than the traditional components of print advertising, direct mail, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It also rolls email, social media, mobile and web (e-commerce) into the marketing mix. Customers engage with brands and make purchasing decisions on a new array of platforms, which has increased the amount of consumer behavior data available for retailers to manage. This subsequently makes the marketing campaign management process much more complex—from budgeting and planning to predicting consumer behavior to providing superior customer service.

With the rapid advent of new, innovative technologies, Business Intelligence (BI) has seen a great deal of change over the past few years. BI has reached a state of sophistication where it is being adopted as a key strategic initiative by retailers. BI solutions aggregate information and provide retailers fast and easy access to data for business reporting, analysis, planning and decision support. By transforming data into actionable information, BI helps retailers make better fact-based decisions at every level of an organization.

Social media, an influencer of consumer behavior
Most retailers are aware of who their customers are. They are equipped with the technology to reasonably ascertain demographics, buying patterns and influencing behaviors. However, the proliferation of numerous social media channels in the consumer market—like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare—has exponentially amplified the challenge of identifying and understanding target markets. Next generation Web 2.0 communication has altered the frequency and intimacy with which retailers interact with their customers.

Retailers, more often than not, have data on their customers’ online and in-person shopping habits stored in separate repositories—a CRM system and an ecommerce database. For a complete analysis, this information can be combined with social media data—customers who “like” a particular store or product or who tweet about a specific brand or product—as well as fundamental demographic information such as income level, gender and age. These layers of information can be superimposed on a geographical map to create very powerful campaign segmentation visuals. Going even further, tying in customers’ actual receipts can give the retailer an incredible perspective on the customers’ buying behavior and thought process leading up to their purchasing decision.

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6Jul/100

What To Do With Your Social Media Data

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We’re all seeing that social media needs to be part of our business strategy. We interact with clients on customer portals, respond to complaints on Twitter, network with partners on LinkedIn, and read the web chatter to assess the general sentiment about our business.

The media cranks out new statistics weekly – your number of Twitter followers, Facebook fans, LinkedIn connections, blog subscribers – but how do they really help us? Is social media a distraction or an attraction? Is there anything valuable in the seemingly endless amount of unstructured information that can help us make better business decisions that affect our bottom line? Yes, indeed there is. Successful organizations are collecting, analyzing, and presenting this data to the C-suite to get an enhanced view of their brand, their customers, and their prospects.

Many businesses simply don’t know where to start when it comes to aggregating the unstructured data from social media sources, let alone how to use that data to influence decision-making and drive performance. Social media data can be used not only to measure how the market perceives you and your competitors, but also to pick up early trends that can drive product development, product delivery, marketing messaging, etc. A visual representation of customer sentiment and conversation topics, for example, is necessary to really understand what’s happening on the web.

So what should you show on your newly-devised social dashboard? This depends on the goals you’re trying to meet with your social media efforts.

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