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Big Data, Individualized Marketing

Published Wednesday Jul 15, 2015


How do you say the right message to the right customer at the right time to enhance their experience, resulting in more frequent and higher value purchases? That’s called tailored marketing, and it is made possible by big data—all the digital footprints collected about users as they move through the Web.

If you run a theater with a variety of shows (musicals, comedies, concerts), any customer who attended a comedy event would likely love to know about the next comedy event coming to town. Perhaps you run a restaurant. Customers that work nearby are the optimal lunch prospects and would want to know about your lunch specials, while those coming in to town for the theater are the optimal dinner prospects. For online retailers, it makes sense to offer complementary products as an upsell based on past purchase history.

The challenge is making these meaningful connections happen, both in the online world and the real world. There is no shortage of data (you already have a purchase history for your customers), and there is no shortage of marketing tactics (your website, printed materials, email marketing and social media).

To be successful, the analytical left-brain skill set of “what makes one customer different from another?” must be combined with the creative right-brain skill set of “what do I say to each different type of customer that will incent their behavior?”

In short, your customer segments (casual customer vs. regular, works nearby vs. works elsewhere, works in marketing vs. engineering) each need to receive specific engagement that was developed especially for them. Fortunately, there are a series of big data tools that you can use to harness the power of tailored marketing to do this immediately.

Big Data for Your Website

When your customers visit your website, what content do they see? Companies like Evergage ( specialize in personalizing your website for each visitor based on observed behavior, such as showing a different home page based on their prior purchase history or engaging a live chat if the customer appears to be confused.

To collect the data needed for tailoring the experience, Evergage provides a small piece of code that is loaded on your website and reports back real-time user behavior to the Evergage platform. As each event is received, the platform builds a behavior profile for the user based on what pages they viewed, what purchases they made, how often they visited the site and other metrics.

To deliver meaningful engagement to the user, marketers build segments in Evergage that define user behavior (first time visitor, purchased a specific item in the past), and for each segment, define what creative experience the user should receive. Sometimes that is showing an entirely different set of page content to the user, while other times it may be a simple rendering of a coupon code on the screen.

Big Data for the Real World

When your customers walk into your business, how are they engaged? Real world engagement platforms understand customers based on their visit behavior to their favorite places and allow you to engage each customer independently both on location and off.

These kind of apps work to engage users and create loyalty but through an individualized experience. Customers that are first-time visitors to a location see a different experience than customers that are casual patrons, while casual customers receive an experience designed to help them become more regular customers, visiting a little more frequently or spending a little more per visit than they already do.

Big Data for Your Social Media

When you engage with your customers on social media, what content will be most relevant to which customers? Social media platforms like Facebook understand the behavior of your customers based on the information and content they provide to Facebook and allow you to promote content to those users based on their predefined segments.

Facebook collects the data needed to tailor the experience because the consumers are actively providing the data to Facebook, including where they live, work or attend school, or which movies and brands they like.

To engage the users, marketers create Facebook content in the form of posts or photos that appear to be similar to any other content a user creates and shares in Facebook, and then decide which users should see that content. Options for segmenting range from specific users with particular likes or interests to friends of users that have previously engaged with your brand and everything in between.

One Size Fits All No More

The key to being successful with tailored marketing and big data is realizing that attempting to be all things to all people is equivalent to being nothing for anyone. To cut through the noise, a “one size fits all” marketing strategy must be abandoned, and each customer must be delivered a tailored experience that engages and delights based on their wants and needs. Doing so will maximize the lifetime value of your existing customers and ensure new prospects are immediately converted to paying customers.

Cory von Wallenstein is the CEO at Adored, a Manchester-based indoor location and mobile engagement startup he co-founded. He formerly served as CTO for Dyn in Manchester. For more information, visit

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