The value of big data and little data in the online marketing world

In marketing circles everyone’s talking about Big Data.  If you’ve attended any of the major digital marketing shows this year then you’ll know it’s the new buzz term; and this is because through the growth of CRM (customer relationship management) systems and social media networks there is simply so much information available to collect or “harvest”. So much data to analyse and, more importantly, use but this is where the old adage “quality not quantity” can be so relevant. The message here is: be sure to collect relevant data and know how and when you can use it to best effect. Often it’s the simplest approach which works best.

My current example was particularly relevant for me in August. I’m a Leo and, if you’re “into” astrology you’ll know that I must have had a birthday recently. This year it has surprised me how many hospitality companies are also into astrology or, at least, recognising the value of a customer – or potential customer’s birthday! This is a perfect example of how a little piece of data might get lost within the bigger picture but used effectively can be a winner in delivering brand recognition and loyalty.

I’ve completely forgotten when and with which hospitality brands I’ve shared my birthday date and I have to admit that, as a marketer, I have been “testing the water” to see who uses the information in a relevant way. La Tasca was one of the first restaurants to invite me to “Celebrate your birthday” in an email subject line. “Hola Carole” the message continued as I opened the email which contained a bottle of well known Cava as well as easy access to their online booking system.

Continuing the continental theme Pizza Express added a touch of personalisation to their email – something I’ve noticed they do particularly well; and their “Happy Birthday Carole” message contained a bottle of Prosecco as long as I order two main courses – they don’t even have to be pizzas.

A simpler subject line of just “Happy Birthday” was adopted by another UK restaurant chain – Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill, their email contained yet another gift, this time a bottle of Champagne – providing I can gather together a group of six and we choose to eat from their a la carte menu within a 30 day period.

Such great awareness generation for the price of an email on the first level and on the next level, should I take up the offer, the net price of a bottle of bubbly, real or regional, as a “cost of sale” to drive incremental revenue and brand loyalty. It has to make sense in the world of hospitality, or at least be tested and monitored which, of course, the many ESP (email service provider) tools facilitate.

So big thanks to the major restaurant brands from me this year but where are the local businesses and the hoteliers? Pleased to report that a local pub has also invested in a CRM system which allows them to target customers’ birthdays, “Print and Pop it’s your birthday” was the fun message from The Cowper Arms in Hertfordshire and Old English Inns reminded me of the existence of its many local pubs with restaurants and rooms – and their birthday gift? A bottle of wine based on a £15 food spend, very generous.

I’ve included links to the customer focused and engaged companies offering to help me celebrate my birthday this year – so that you too can perhaps subscribe or at least see how it’s done – in case you’re not making the most of this cost-effective digital marketing opportunity to engage with your customers. The simple and easy use of a little data can go a long way to build customer relationships.

Now I must keep this blog short and leave you to “click and subscribe” as I have lots of tables to book before these offers expire! Of course the service levels need to match up to the celebratory expectations but that’s another customer experience topic for another blog! If you’d like to talk to me about CRM and how digital marketing could help your business then do please get in touch.

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