Big data, or the large amounts of information that inundate a business every day, can be one of the most valuable resources a brand can possess. Marketers can use it to uncover valuable customer data, including patterns, trends, and associations relating to human behavior and interactions. As one would expect, with that level of intelligence big data has enormous potential, but only for those with the capabilities required to react accordingly to whatever they may learn.

Many brands use multiple channels to reach customers with their marketing messages. However, creating a multi-channel marketing strategy, a true omnichannel experience for customers, requires integrating big data from a variety of those channels. As a result, the relationship between big data, a multi-channel marketing strategy, a true omnichannel experience for customers, requires integrating big data from a variety of those channels. As a result, the relationship between big data, multi-channel, and omnichannel marketing is certainly worth exploring.

What Is the Value of Big Data?

Today’s customers can, and often do, use multiple online and offline channels, and even multiple devices to browse, shop, and connect with brands. Each channel allows for data collection, providing big data, so what value does that level of knowledge and information provide for brands?

As mentioned above, big data allows brands to capitalize on patterns and trends in customer behavior, but that is only part of it. By better understanding customers and their preferences, marketing experts can increase the relevancy of the content they send to their customers.

Maintaining relevance in the eyes of the customer not only increases sales, but keeps customers responding positively to marketing tactics. As a customer works through various points of the lifecycle, from first-time buyer, to active customer, to defecting customer, marketers can layer behavioral data over that information. Recent interactions, transactional value, abandoned carts, all of this information can be gathered and used to work in the brand’s best interest, creating true omnichannel marketing strategies.

Using behavioral factors to plot a customer’s position in their lifecycle, alongside the other predictive information big data provides, means marketers can segment customers in meaningful ways.

The most important thing marketers need to understand about using big data is the importance of focus. It is easy to get lost in the massive amounts of information available, so they must know what to look for.

Big Data for Multi-Channel vs. Omni-Channel Marketing

Marketing has graduated from pushing the same product, or product messaging, through all channels. The channel should be viewed as a tool that defines the type of message and method used to communicate to customers. Buying strategies and consumer responsiveness change for most customers based on channel. That behavior must be worked into the communication framework.

This is where big data comes in.

Using big data can help when implementing a multi-channel marketing strategy, increasing the likelihood of a brand’s content being seen. By focusing efforts and digging into big data to discover where customers pay the most attention, brands can better reach customers through email, web, social, or ads.

However, big data can go beyond informing multi-channel usage. A multi-channel approach merely aims to get the word out via the maximum possible number of channels. The focus is more on the channel than on the customer.

Marketers can use big data to better develop an omnichannel approach, using it to develop customer profiles and begin to predict behaviors. Marketers can personalize the way a brand reaches their target audiences, likely using multiple channels but ensuring the message, channel, device, and timing are all in sync.

Omnichannel marketing involves using data to understand where the customer pain points are, meaning it can also help to eliminate the effort in the customer experience, fostering an effortless and positive experience for consumers.

An omni-channel marketing strategy uses every channel to engage with customers on a holistic basis, ensuring they have a positive overall experience with the brand throughout each and every channel. The focus is on developing a long-term relationship between the brand and the customer.

Final Thoughts

While both omnichannel and multi-channel marketing focus on using multiple channels to reach potential and current customers, and both can use big data, they are very different strategies. Harnessing the power of big data, then focusing it, allows brands to develop true omnichannel marketing methods.

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