Big Data, Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Social Media

‘SoMoBiDa’ Isn’t a Song: Like It or Not, the Confluence of Social, Mobile and Big Data Is the Future of Marketing

Are you familiar with the word “SoMoBiDa”? SoMoBiDa is an abbreviation for Social, Mobile and Big Data—a combination of the three great trends in today’s marketing world. In a practical sense, what does SoMoBiDa mean for marketers?

Social—it’s become cliché to say it, but social media has changed the way in which brands engage and interact with their customers. On one hand, social media has given marketers an incredible platform for disseminating content to the masses, and at an incredibly low cost. Social has given marketers the ability not only monitor what customers are saying and feeling about the firm and its products (social listening or monitoring), but it’s opened the door to actual two-way conversations with clients (social engagement).

Listening to, responding to and engaging with users on Social is a challenge that marketers will be forced to meet with increasing effectiveness in coming years. Recently, a host of new solutions has sprung up to help with the task. Using a Social CRM tool, for example, marketers can match Social Insight against existing customer and prospect data, creating a powerful marketing tool for acquisition, retention or customer service.

Similarly to campaign management, marketers are already starting to experiment with ways to automate some of their organization’s Social Engagement. In fact, some believe that a large portion of Social Engagements can be automated, and new tools have sprung up to fill the need. When it comes to the tone or content of the social conversation, however, many firms have discovered that Social Media is a double-edged sword where control of the conversation has shifted to the crowd—truly a frightening concept to any marketer! Ultimately, marketers who ignore Social do so at their own peril.

Mobile—if marketing is about sending the right message to the right people at the right place at the right time … Well then mobile is the right place. And marketers need to be there. More than simply a “channel” in the conventional sense, mobile is more like a way of life. This is because the mobile device has become hardwired into the way we go about our lives. How do you feel when you accidentally leave home without your phone, or when your phone dies and you have no way to charge it? Not good, right? Can you sit down for an entire meal without picking up your phone at least once to check your email, see what’s trending on Twitter or find out you’re your finds are doing or saying on Facebook?

Mobile presents marketers with an “always on” touchpoint with customers and prospects, giving marketers potential 24/7 access to them, the ability to monitor what they do and where they are, and so on. Now of course being an “always on” channel is both a blessing and a curse. Because the smartphone is used all day long for a variety of reasons, users are understandably hypersensitive with regard to uninvited or unwanted intrusions.

Big Data—“Yeah, yeah. Enough about Big Data, already,” you’re probably saying. At this point, I think it’s safe to say we’re all familiar with this über-meme on a high level. What it means for marketers, however, is another story. Try asking most marketers what benefit Big Data will have for their organizations and their heads will probably start to spin. The trouble with explaining the benefits of Big Data is that Big Data is the activity of analyzing and deriving insight from the mountains of unstructured data that are accumulating within and across today’s enterprise firm, on servers and in stacks, on PCs, in spreadsheets, on the Web and in the Cloud. Fact is, Big Data can tell us anything, or nothing—you just won’t know until you gotten down into the weeds and done the dirty work.

In a great recent post by Sandro Catanzaro titled “Taming the Wild West: 7 Trends Uncovered With Big Data,” the author identifies seven super-practical and highly impactful insights firms have gleaned with Big Data. Among the discoveries that Catanzaro highlights are a retailer who realizes that consumers browse higher-end lines before purchasing one tier down. Another was a discovery by a credit card company that consumers in urban areas viewing an ad for a new credit card on Tuesday are more likely to sign up on Sunday night. Catanzaro gives us seven real-world examples uncovered using the latest tools. These are just seven examples—the potential list is truly endless.

Beyond a sum of its parts, SoMoBiDa refers to the confluence of these three great forces and the immense power this combination unleashes for marketers. Standing alone, any one of these trends signals a momentous shift in the way we do business. When they’re combined together they can become truly transformative.

Let’s look at an example in which a potential customer walks into a retail location and looks at some merchandise. While doing so, let’s say he or she scans a QR Code above the device and learns more about the product using an in-store app. Because it is the first week of the month, using Big Data the marketer knows that this is when most big-ticket purchases are made, right after payday for most consumers. As a result, a special time-sensitive offer pops up in the in-store app asking the user to share the offer with his/her network. The customer then tweets about the product.

Using a Social CRM tool, the firm is able match the social engagement to the CRM database, which has been beefed with Big Data custom attribution modeling leveraging past purchase info combined demographic and psychographic data to identify this Twitter user as a repeat customer with a high lifetime value, who usually buys online from someone a couple days after an in-store visit. Using location services, the firm is able to discern at which location the customer is shopping. To help close the deal, the in-store sales staff is immediately sent over to assist the prospect, armed with complete customer order history and personal information on a tablet. Pretty awesome, huh?

Now of course this is just one example for one type of business. Nor am I claiming to have all the answers now—it’s way too early in the game and no one does yet. But just think for a moment of the power that marketers will have in their hands if they do SoMoBiDa right and incorporate it into their business model? If you project several years in the future, companies that get it right will be the ones that succeed. Those that don’t … well, they probably won’t be around.

Okay, looks like over my word count limit again and I’m out of space for this post. Got any observations or SoMoBiDa ideas for your company or products? If so, I’d love to hear about them in your comments.

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About rio_longacre

Rio Longacre is a veteran of the direct marketing space. He works at Capgemini Consulting USA as a Managing Consultant, Customer Experience Consulting, in the Life Sciences Market Unit. He is based in the firm's New York City office. Rio can be contacted at: rio.longacre@gmail.com. Or, you can follow him on Twitter at @RioLongacre. Any opinions expressed in the piece are his own.

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