Firms and other organizations are investing in complex analytics and hiring data scientists in order to harness the capabilities of Big Data. Yet some of their most useful and powerful data is being ignored, even though it is right in front of their eyes.
This is customer relationships management (CRM) data that is obtained from non-online sources. Most often it comes over the phone. Companies should not worry about exotic new kinds of data until they have integrated and harnessed the data that is already readily available.
As Jeff Fuhriman observes at the Adobe Digital Marketing Blog, non-online CRM data is some of the most unique and relevant data that companies generate. It comes directly from customers and potential customers. Moreover, it comes from people who were motivated to pick up the phone, or pay a visit in person. (Or, in some cases, write and post a snail-mail letter.)
They may be writing to complain, but they are engaged, and looking for dialogue.
Yet a study by Digiday and Acxiom indicates that 70 percent of marketers are not bringing their offline data online. Either they cannot (because they have not provided the technology tools) or they simply do not, probably because it simply hasn't occurred them to do so. As Fuhriman puts it, "our visitors exist in a multi-channel marketplace, so why don’t we?"
Offline contacts may not be defined as "CRM," but simply exist as individuals helping or at least talking to customers on an ad-hoc basis. Or the structures for handling these direct contacts may have developed before computerized CRM tools existed.
In either case, the first step to making full use of this data is to recognize that it exists. The next step is integrating it with online data. Much of the information may be "unstructured" – specific questions that customers asked, or demo users' remarks on why they did not sign on after the demo period. But unstructured data is a key element of what Big Data is all about.
Don't let precious data remain hidden in plain sight. Let GRT Corporation show you how to integrate and make full use of the data you already have gathered.