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Big Data & the Power of Personalization

big data personalization

According to Wikipedia, Big data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information from, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex. They are hard to deal with by traditional data-processing application software. Marketing guru Steuart Henderson Britt once said “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.”. (Source: Marketing Insights from A to Z).

For a long time, mass-targeted advertising remained a guiding mantra for business and marketing, but things have begun to change. On a dramatic scale too because of the internet and e-marketing, personalization and targeted messaging are becoming a game changer.

In fact, advertising without personalization today nearly amounts to winking in the crowd. But you don’t know who you are doing it to. To define it metaphorically, personalized marketing is like winking at a targeted person in broad daylight. And you clearly know that it is going to entertain the targeted person.

The important fact to note, however, is that personalization has touched every aspect of life, not just business and marketing. Plus, its scope is expanding with the expansion of Big Data consisting of a growing amount of personal data.

Growing Scopes of Personalization

Data plays a vital role in personalization. The more personal data you have, the more effectively you can customize your services to reach out to the targeted individuals. Or for making your services more appealing, engaging, and meaningful. As well as for meeting the specific needs of your service recipients and influencing their purchase decisions.

Although data-informed personalization is a relatively recent development, its usefulness has been established in areas such as marketing healthcare, and education. Diversifying into customer service management, banking, human resource management, news subscriptions, and so on.

This development would not have been possible without the different sheds of personal data. Like from purchasing history to behavioral to clinical—adding up to Big Data which is doubling every two years.

Because over 75% of all digital data is created by customers (MIT Technology Review) and about 90% of the digital data remains unstructured and untapped (Business Insider). Data mining and personalization are bringing huge changes in product and service industries, and their marketing strategies. Even by today’s estimation, users are ten times more likely to interact with personalized items than with non-personalized ones.

Integration of personal information from various digital devices makes predictive analytics on the personal level more accurate. The projection of its development is to the extent of recommending a discount product in a store you will most certainly visit in a few days.

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Not a Brand New Concept, Though

Even if personalization has begun to radicalize the way marketing is done today, it is not a brand new idea. Businesses have always been aware of the power of person-oriented and targeted marketing. The only difference is businesses now have better tools and technologies to identify their customers. They can analyze their purchasing habits and preferences better and push their sales.

Traditionally, customer loyalty programs, with different kinds of reward schemes, have been a way to gather customer information and interact with them. Data-informed personalized marketing has taken loyalty programs to a new level.

Here’s a real-life example of American Airlines. It was the first company to introduce the data-based loyalty program AAdvantage in 1981. Today, it has more than 115 million active members. Not only do the airlines offer tailored deals to the customers, but the flight attendants provide personalized services to the travelers on board too. Thanks to their personal information at hand.

Today, almost all of the retail industries run with personalized loyalty programs. However, this particular industry is not the only area in which personalization has become a dominant force. On the contrary, web elements of all kinds are becoming more and more customer-centered. Giving better purchasing or participation experiences to the users and increasing their stickiness.

Online Marketing: Personalization is Key

Online retailer Amazon, which is credited to have pioneered web-based personalized marketing, and owns over 310 Million Active Users Globally. Utilizing Big Data, it generates about 20% more revenue through personalized recommendations. Netflix goes the same way to engage and retain its users and to drive repeat purchases. Google, on the other hand, promotes user personalization based on petabytes of data. It collects them from the individuals’ search and web browsing history to tailor its ads, web content, and services.

Likewise, social networking sites, like Facebook and LinkedIn, capitalize on user accounts and behavioral data for targeting products, ads, jobs, and services to specific users.

Now, nearly every website uses sign-up features so that user engagement can be better analyzed. Besides, optimization of customer loyalty via personalized email recommendations, content marking, RSS feed subscription, and mobile ads. More importantly, social media interaction has become the central strategy for today’s marketers. Likewise, the market is rapidly moving forward from personalized marketing to personalized products—from the fashion industry to healthcare services.

What Steve Jobs says about knowing the customers sums up the importance of personalization for making anticipatory and predictive analysis of data:

Get closer than ever to your customers. So close, in fact, that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.


Grepsr has worked with its business partners in crawling, mining, aggregating and archiving customer-related data to enhance their personalized marketing. We are positive that the changes taking place in the area of personalization are opening up new avenues of opportunities for ourselves, our business partners and their customers.

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