Big Data and Macro Trends

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of big data in web analytics is the potential for an end-to-end view of customers. Big data helps paint the bigger picture, which can provide the backdrop for all other business decisions. To put it another way, if we ask the right questions, big data will show us the world our customers live in, as opposed to the world we think they do.

Customer Mapping

Few organizations have an accurate understanding of what their customers' lifecycle looks like. They may know how customers navigate their site or how long it takes for a sales rep to close a sale. But they don't know what the decision process looks like in practice.

Using big data companies can create a map of all the decisions customers make before purchasing. This should be a primary goal for every company leveraging big data. By understanding what decisions customers need to make at each point, we can understand how to talk to them. Big data gives us a window to how customer behaviors change as they progress through the sales cycle. Segmenting customer activity by the types of things they look for can highlight which mediums are most effective at addressing them and how customers expect to get answers. This helps us to meet them where they are by customizing how we talk to them at each phase.

Find Resonance

Big data also allows us to understand customer satisfaction more accurately. By combining quantitative and qualitative data we can see where we inadvertently create dissonance--where customers' needs and expectations don't match what we actually deliver. Besides adding survey data, big data can connect the dots if we analyze the questions customers actually ask themselves and where we fail by giving them something that doesn't meet their expectations. Big data can help us achieve resonance.

Finally Get Context

This bigger picture of a customer's lifecycle provides context for all other business decisions. Instead of just asking which types of marketing work best, we can ask which types of marketing work at a specific step of the decision process. We can determine when visiting the website would be most helpful for a customer or when they need a mailer. We can focus on addressing the needs or questions they actually have. This nuanced discussion reflects reality and is customer-centric. It treats customers with dignity and allows companies to proactively engage in a meaningful discussion with them.

This is part 2 of a five-part series on big data and web analytics.

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