Kathy Divis

Extreme Winter Offers Example of Big Data Use

by Kathy Divis | Jan 30, 2014
SnowJam 2 2014SnowJam 2014Brrr, it’s cold!!! For most of us in the US, and definitely for us in Atlanta this week, we’ve had a lot of extreme weather conditions so far this winter. Spring simply can’t get here fast enough. But other than sharing a personal observation, how does that relate to healthcare marketing? In an article on big data, David Meerman Scott, one of the keynote speakers at the 17th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference last November, talks about big data, or “rich data,” as he prefers to call it. Scott believes that while most people are somewhat familiar with the term “big data” and have an understanding, to some degree, of what it is, they don’t really understand the implications that big data can have for their business. Thus, most organizations aren’t taking advantage of the power of big data. Data is everywhere, in massive amounts. But how can your organization turn all that data into revenue? Combining customer profiles with social media profiles and demographic information can certainly help to create targeted profiles for marketing campaigns. Although this can evoke a “creep factor” for some people, Scott says he personally appreciates when businesses he frequents regularly pays attention to his purchasing patterns and sends him offers that he is actually interested in. But we were speaking of cold weather earlier – how does that fit in? Well, real-time data analysis is very important for day-to-day business operations. In Scott’s example, the local big-box home improvement store or the local big-box mass merchandiser might consider the weather in planning sales strategies. Strategies that might be employed include:
  • Monitoring the weather forecasts to know when extreme weather conditions, such as a blizzard and/or extremely cold temperatures are coming, and prepare their stock accordingly. With enough notice, supplies can be diverted from other locations that won’t be affected so that enough stock will be on hand for the local weather situation.
  • Setting up a special Web site that updates dynamically based on point-of-sale systems so that customers will know if the items they need are available and at which location they can be found.
  • Monitoring social media for mention of particular items, such as snow shovels, and commenting on posts when appropriate.
  • Sending targeted emails to customers, based on purchase history, containing offers for items pertinent to the upcoming weather conditions.
  • Using a real-time Google AdWord campaign, linking current weather conditions with available pertinent stock and offers available for that stock. The ads would, of course, point to the dynamically-updating Web page so that customers would know the availability of these products.
Does this example give you ideas for how your organization could better use big data? If so, share examples of what you're doing and what you have planned. We'd love to hear from you and learn about your successes and challenges. And stay warm; Spring is only 50 days away!    
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