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Data making a difference: Going beyond personalisation

Data explosion
With the emergence of multiple data-generating channels and streams, data is growing at an explosive pace. As the digital footprint of the society progressively expands into fragmented mediums (blogs, tweets, reviews etc.) and technologies (mobile, web, cloud/SaaS etc.); it opens up new frontiers of challenges as well as opportunities, in harnessing these information sources.

Mobile devices and the Internet of Things are playing a large part in driving this explosion. A market research firm IDC (International Data Corporation), forecasts a 44-fold increase in data volumes by 2020.

Unlocking the value of big data for better customer engagement
With mobile and desktop Internet usage driving the data explosion, the need of the hour today is to be able to navigate through the noise created by large amounts of data, quickly and effectively.

These vast amounts of data that are collected will be of no consequence if it cannot be put to good use, and this is where big data steps in. With big data technology providing meaningful and defined patterns, it is possible for businesses to improve their productivity at various levels. Moreover, they can use these patterns to get a better understanding of their customers, so that they can be engaged in the right manner.

Personalisation and customer loyalty
This new world of opportunities for businesses, particularly aids the field of mobile advertising, which has already seen a phenomenal growth over the past few years.
One of the reasons for the explosive growth in mobile ad spends is the very nature of mobile devices. There is such a thing as GPS-based fencing that allows stores to ping their customers when they are in the close vicinity of the store. Location and context awareness opens up new channels of communication for businesses. For instance, there is a high probability that the SMS about say, a shoe sale will actually draw customers to the store or in the least, make him or her check out the details on their smart phones.

Targeted advertising not only increases revenues for businesses, it also enhances customer experiences, by providing personalised reach to customers. Such personal gestures tend to improve customer engagement that over time, can lead to loyalty.

Technology has altered the retail relationship with consumers. With ever-increasing shopping options, run-of-the-mill consumer loyalty programs alone will not help in sustaining revenues.

More and more businesses are turning to personalisation; which leads to better engagement, and helps build a loyal customer base.

Going beyond personalisation
Currently, personalised recommendations are based on an increasingly narrowing sliver of transactional data an enterprise has about a customer. A customer who has an ever-widening sphere of other interactions and influences away from the enterprise and across various categories – from books to holidays to food, clothing or time of day one prefers for shopping or favourite retailers and locations.

Finding ways to reduce big data to relevant data and then delivering a few relevant choices on apps and other channels is the key, to effective customer engagement. Revolutionary apps like personal choice guides and sales assistants, that simplify and deliver choice, will make customer interactions more relevant and engaging.

For instance, Crayon Data’s proprietary cross-category Taste Graph, combines internal and external data across areas like taste, influence, context and behaviour to plot the affinity of every product in the world to every other.crayondata

This massive graph is then used, to build revolutionary apps like Crayon’s Maya – a personal concierge that simplifies and delivers choices.

To sum up, tapping into the consumer’s behaviour and tastes, striking the right balance between privacy and ultra-personalisation to serve up limited, but highly relevant choices that make the purchase decision easier, is the holy grail of modern customer engagement.

With the right big data analytics solutions and products, customer engagement could move from one driven by recommendations to a whole new paradigm based on genuine customer behaviour, tastes, influences and context.

Srikant Sastri

Srikant Sastri provides strategic leadership as the co-founder of Crayon Data, the ambitious Singapore-headquartered start-up, which aims to build a global business around a Big Data platform and products. This is his third start-up. Srikant is a seasoned entrepr