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BizReport : Advertising : December 31, 2012

How to better use data in 2013

While good data is more readily available than ever, one expert notes that many in the online space aren't making the most of that data. And that, he says, is costing them revenue. It could also cost loyal customers because as the Internet matures consumers are looking for a relevant experience not just a cheap price on goods.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Are brands doing enough with data right now?

Alex Romanov, President & CEO, iSign Media Corp: No, they're not. But the good news is that brands know they need to do more and are beginning to take proactive steps. Data, and more specifically Big Data - the digital age's torrent of consumer information coming from SMS messages, mobile email, digital Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled signage opt-ins, and the latest generation of proximity detection, (capable of gathering average price points, typical purchases, in-store and near-store dwell times along with gender and likely customer demographics) - is at a major cross roads. Data is being generated by the petabyte load, but the IT resources needed to manage and analyze that data and devise actionable inferences on brand loyalty and future purchases continues to lag.

Kristina: How can businesses better utilize the data compiled to engage without impinging on customer privacy?

Alex: Two words: anonymous collection. Gathering metrics in an anonymous manner is the best way to ensure and protect privacy. That's something that even in the information age, consumers remain rightly protective of. A recent Forrester report found that nearly 40% of survey respondents didn't trust any company with their personal data. Banks and investment companies scored trust worthiest, yet even here only 43% agreed with that sentiment. But anonymous collection is also an approach that similarly guarantees that the data collected is timely and relevant so that equally timely and relevant offers can be sent in return. It's noteworthy that in the rush to engage consumers via as many digital channels as possible, brands must remain mindful of older laws, specifically the Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act of 1991, a law that makes clear that company text messaging must be an opt-in experience. Adherence to this rule is essential if companies hope to maintain loyalty and avoid legal intervention.

Kristina: We're hearing more about the importance of mobile data, why is mobile being highlighted and how can brands better capitalize on mobile data?

Alex: We're hearing more about the importance of mobile data for two reasons. One is that adoption rates for tablets and smartphones are skyrocketing, hovering around 50% and nearly 30% or higher in some demographics in the US, not to mention basic feature phones that also send and receive SMS messages. According to a July 2012 WorldBank report, some 75% of the world's population now has access to a mobile phone. And with multiple subscriptions on the rise, it's likely the number of phones will soon eclipse the total human population of 7.2 billion. We're also hearing about mobile because of the wealth of consumer metrics these devices track and accumulate. Capitalizing on mobile data requires the necessary staffing skills to interpret and analyze incoming consumer information. Companies may also want to consider third-party outsourcing of data management if their own IT teams aren't ready for the coming data deluge.

Tags: data collection, data metrics, iSign Media, online advertising

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