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Speed is crucial for winning data-driven marketing: Forrester

NEW YORK ? Marketers are urged to quickly and fluidly interact with data in real-time to reshape experiences and business, as reaction time will determine the winners and losers, according to a senior analyst at Forrester's Forum for Customer Professionals East. 

As technology enters an age of enlightenment, data and how it changes consumers? perceptions directly correlates to their experiences, impacting the experiences marketers create and their businesses. Ignoring value in the use of data to analyze and solve problems in real-time could be damaging to a business as customers are no longer willing to experience things on a schedule other than their own.

?The speed with which you can convert data into insight and that insight into action is now the defining characteristic of competition,? said Tony Costa, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

?How quickly you can make that change happen is the key competitive driver.?

?Data in some sense demands action and demands agility to respond to what you?re seeing,? he said.

Organizational velocity
The growth in mobile adoption has opened the flood gates when it comes to the amount of data marketers have access to about their customers. While the insight is welcome, the sheer volume presents a challenge in terms of being able to effectively analyze and draw insights from this data. 

During the Customer Experiences Through Data-Driven Design segment, three key trends were identified as catalysts for data driven design: possessing an abundance of customer data, democratized data access and easy-to-use data discovery tools.

As attitudes, rules and behaviors that govern data use are being radically transformed, the traditional hunting and gathering of project specific feedback via charts and tables is crumbling and under assault by new models of data management. The real-time availability of information enables self-service hypothesis testing and data pulling which can produce instant conclusions. Therefore, marketers must integrate data into all day-to-day interactions and may then take one of three approach implementations: inquisitive, scientific or practical.

 Focusing on verifiable data rather than opinion, orthodoxy and emotion means defeating gut instincts and better targeted and relevant interactions craved by consumers.

Second screen TV app Beamly wanted to evolve from a social companion to a full-service content network. Where it once met users with large visuals and sparse text, the introduction of a sandwich menu was enacted to allow for more navigational ease.

However, the new feature did not create better functionality in allowing fans to engage with their favorite shows, and actually caused a 50 percent drop in user engagement.

A data-driven strategy means choosing a design that is friendly enough to learn from user interaction, is able to change quickly, and can monitor how users are accepting the change to provide meaningful insight into user behavior for effective experience alterations.

Data-centric design
Data-centric designs and planning work with marketers to display trends and performance against organizational goals is important.

Data sources are growing and the places where consumers travel, shop, eat and play are all becoming digitized, and will soon be even further realized by wearables.

Walt Disney World?s famed MyMagic project is a vacation-planning system in pilot which is gathering reams of personal data about the millions of visitors the park sees each year.

A rubber wristband embedded with microchips will track how visitors spend their money, and their buying preferences. Disney plans to use that information to devise more relevant and personalized sales pitches, in which everything from the message to the price could vary from one prospective buyer to the next.

From vision to action
In order for marketers to improve upon specific experience related issues, Mr. Costa recommended marketers take a more enlightened approach to data, put that information into the hands of every employee, and focus on small data actionability and not big data promise.

While the data boom brings opportunity for a complete transformation of a business? design and operations, it also allows for greater access to end user feedback. The solution is to discover a rational methodology for how design can help a business learn from triggered and automated means of interaction.

?Don?t fall prey to the tyranny of numbers,? Mr. Costa said.

?When I talk about data-driven design I am not talking about abdicating your responsibilities as professionals to the information. It?s not designed by numbers; the data doesn?t tell you what to do it only informs your decisions.?

?You have to choose how to act on your decisions, and understand the why behind the information,? he said.

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York