Ask Your Data the Right Questions and Peer into the Future

Posted by Taylor Haney on Thu, Aug 7, 2014

Since it is officially August we are kicking off our new guest blog theme, data & analytics. To start off the theme we have a fantastic post by Beth Cohen King, Director of Marketing at Ve Interactive. Beth gives insight into how we use data to help mimic the personal relationship we get in the brick and mortar environment.

Beth Cohen KingBeth Cohen King is the Director of Marketing at Ve Interactive, a multi-award winning global technology company, driving online performance to maximize conversions. She drives lead generation programs and communications for North America. Prior to Ve Interactive, Beth held various sales and marketing positions at iLantern and Stylesight. Beth has a MFA in Interrelated Media from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and a BFA from University of Nevada, Reno. She is active in her community, being on the Alumni board at Middlesex School, and The Board of Advocates for the Connors Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She is a competitive tennis player who lives outside of Boston with her husband, daughter, and rescue dog, Magnolia. Follow Ve Interactive on Twitter, Follow Beth on Linkedin. Follow Beth on Twitter @bethcohenking

Big retailer, Target, tells father that young teenage girl is pregnant before she had a chance to do it herself.

Even though this is an old story now from 2012, every time I recall it – I learn a new lesson. For those of you who don’t remember, Target discovered that a young teenage girl was pregnant based on her past purchases— mainly a small blue rug and unscented body lotion. Target then proceeded to send her a coupon book for baby products. Her father saw the coupon book addressed to her, became rightfully inflamed at Target, and went to speak with a manager. As it turns out, Target knew the girl was pregnant before she had a chance to tell her father.

Target’s super powered analytics team used buying behavior data to glean valuable insights helping to determine her prenatal status. Now it’s true, Target may have had a few creepy missteps along the way to their predictive Shangri-La, but now, two years later it still needs to be asked— what can we learn? How can we make use of buyer behavior (and the lack of it) to determine future trends?

Ve Interactive blogWe are immersed in world of big data. We know it is powerful and we know that it is our ticket to future e-commerce success. The big challenge remains—how do we make the data work for our needs and also communicate the story that will drive bottom line increases? Using the data to engage with our customers, even before they become customer’s, means that we have potentially improved the traditional brick and mortar experience. If we use the data correctly, we can build meaningful online relationships even when we cannot be face to face.

We need technology that does more than uncover big data; we need tools that help us find insights within that data. Individual data points are of little importance in isolation. But once you connect the dots and weave together a story within the data, enormous opportunities can be uncovered. Through smart data analysis, we can now understand how our customers are behaving and why they are making particular choices. It's all about choosing the right tools and using them to ask and answer the right questions:

  1. Which products have been purchased and are most successful during a specific period of time?

  2. Who has purchased what and when and what messaging should each bucket of buyers get?

  3. Who hasn’t completed a purchase and at what point have they abandoned in the funnel?

  4. What items have been left behind but consumers have shown interest in?

  5. Which price points resonate most with your buyers?

  6. Where did your buyers come from, remarketing, search and what kind of messaging can we offer based on their journey?

  7. What are the peak days for sales, abandonments, conversions?

The Wanamaker quote has been used to the point of exhaustion saying, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”  We now know which half, what remains is how we are best going to use data to build better relationships, communicate personally with our prospects and customers, and to mimic the one-on-one relationship of the brick and mortar.