Data analytics have firmly captured the imagination of business leaders everywhere. And across every functional department – from logistics to HR - it seems there is cloud-based “big data” solution designed to help businesses make sense of huge volumes of data.
For marketers in particular, the promise is great: comb through mountains of information to see patterns and trends in audience preference and buying behavior. Combining these insights with today's powerful mobile and digital marketing technologies gives companies unmatched precision in engaging the right audience at the right time in the right manner.
In theory, this should drive closer relationships and stronger connections between brands and their audiences. Yet as most CEO's know, deep and enduring brand loyalty has never been harder to achieve and maintain. Why?
Marketers need to balance the use of "Big Data" with "Big Heart”. It's not enough to simply know what, how, when and where customers like to buy. You also need to understand "why" they buy…the emotional, unstated (and often subconscious) reasons behind their decisions.
"The most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand."
Howard Schultz - CEO, Starbucks
These values, beliefs, and aspirations are as much a reflection of the customer themselves as they are a reflection your product or service. This is the REAL connection to your brand. It’s where loyalty lives.
So you need to deploy these digital, social, mobile and analytical tools upon a strong foundation of messaging and stories that link your brand to the customer's values and beliefs. Failing to do so will only ensure that the next marketer to come along with a "Bigger Data" insight or promotion will peel them away.
So, by all means, invest heavily in "Big Data" (and "Big Mobile," "Big Social," etc…). But don't forget to deploy it on a strong foundation of "Big Heart." That's where strongest and most enduring connections come from.