Marketing and engaging with customers is changing at warp speed. How do you build and maintain market share when you are being assaulted on all fronts?
“Big Data will save us!” is the war cry of management firms across the globe. So let’s take a look at one case in point shall we?
There are two kinds of businesses, those where you need personal interactions with clients, and those that never see a client face to face.
Multiple industries are changing where we are prepared to pay less in order not to have face-time with the person serving us.
Let’s take coffee as our example.
We will get to a phase where we don’t really need a barista serving us our coffee. Is there really a difference between a person or a computer making us coffee? Big data can tell us what you want when you want it and how you like it. Bring in Starbucks — would you be happy to get your coffee without seeing your barista? Rosalind Brewer the new star COO at Starbucks seem to think so. Starbucks are losing share partly because their queues are too long, so new tech is being brought in to deal with that. More serves per hour, more revenue. Will automation impact on their business? Probably. Most of the functions are automated anyway, with the experiential side done front of house for show.
What other industries could lose their face to face engagement without losing customers, and actually get more out?
Insurance has gone that way
Healthcare is going that way
So how is this going to impact big brands?
The next phase of big data will help consumers make decisions quicker and the winner should logically be established brands. However not big business have access to big data to select target markets, filter out the correct individuals and target their offerings to them. What we as individuals need now is a personal Big Data machine to only serve us information, services and offerings that we want, oh wait we already have it, it is called Facebook!
The more big data is used the more useful it will become but the more powerful it will need to become as consumers filter out more and more attempts to woo them to into buying.
Great news because as a big brand you can push your products on a platform that customers are engaging with more and more, it is the way of the future.
Bad news for big brands is that it also allows the small players and individuals to get their products and services to exactly the same market — and the issue here for big business is that the barriers to entry and being eroded day by day. I can sell my Organic cereal (does anyone eat cereal anymore?) to a customer in the same market that Kellogg’s is selling to, cheaper and more efficiently.
So, great news for the aggregators like Ebay and Amazon which offer the platform and data, but not so great for big brands.
So what to do?
A major differentiator (as it has always been) is creativity and design. Standing out by being innovative and having brilliant design as a key part of your business strategy is what has typically separated brands that languish and brands that win. Not to say that this is a panacea to all your troubles, the down side with creativity and design is that is typically has a finite period where it captures the current zeitgeist, then you have to start again, but that is a good problem to have. There are far too many blah brands out there that trot out the same old stuff and expect the same results. Big Data can start to show us brands that are more personalised to our proclivities opening up the market to quick individual or pop up brands that can take advantage of fast moving consumer preferences, by using Big Data!
Now we just need to get rid of some of the red tape that prevents smaller brands from succeeding. The onerous regulations, taxes on small businesses and firewalls that are put up to give big companies advantages over competitors.
Exciting times ahead, according to Big Data that is!