Applications of Big Data in Customer Segmentation

By now, companies all over the world are coming to the realization that big data is crucial for future business growth and greater efficiency. There are many ways big data is contributing to this latest boom in productivity, and new methods are being discovered and used all the time. One element receiving a lot of attention and making headlines in technology news is how big data is aiding in customer segmentation. Big data is increasingly allowing businesses to empower individual consumers while also opening up new ways to look at existing markets.


More Precise Segmentation


Marketing is one of the major areas where big data is playing a critical role. Today, customers are more connected to media than ever before, and that means there is a lot of competition for their attention. Reaching out to these people and capturing their interest has become a significant challenge, but one that businesses that are able to analyze big data are able to overcome. Segmenting a crop of consumers goes beyond the more traditional marketing routes where advertisers divided people based on age, sex, location, and other general variables. Now with big data, companies can create more differentiation among customers. This allows marketers to run more targeted campaigns toward individuals and not one massive campaign with a general message.


Better Products and Services


More extensive customer segmentation allows businesses to gain more insight into the customer’s behavior, and may even allow companies to predict future buying habits. These predictive analytics can help marketers run more effective messages with precision. It also helps businesses provide added products and services that are tailored to their customers. In one example, a satellite television provider turned to big data analytics to better understand their customers. Before big data, the company only had data collected from cable boxes to get an understanding of what their customers watched. Once the company started using data gathered from social media content about programs, they were able to create new program schedules and on-demand content to better line up with what their customers wanted to see.


Health Care Planning


The use of big data for customer segmentation can provide other services of an even more important variety. For health care organizations, big data can be used to divide patients along a multitude of guidelines as part of health care strategic planning. As an example, based off of data gathered by doctors and nurses, patients deemed to be high risk can be segmented from those patients considered lower risk. The high risk patients can then get the medical response they’ll need right away, while the lower risk patients are placed as a lesser priority until the other cases are taken care of first.


Product Launches


Big data and customer segmentation can also play a huge role in the launch of new products. With the collected big data, businesses can predict purchasing behaviors and determine which customers will be more likely to buy a product at launch. These “Lighthouse Customers”--or early adopters--can then be the focus of early marketing campaigns. Mainstream and late adopters can then be targeted later on in the product launch cycle. The pharmaceutical industry is already employing big data in this respect. Pharmaceutical companies use big data from medical prescribing records to determine which doctors are more likely to prescribe new medication and separate them from doctors who prefer to wait. The pharmaceutical companies can then target those early adopting doctors first.


Customer Programs


Customer segmentation also comes into play when companies are targeting existing consumers for special customer programs. The programs can include anything from loyalty rewards to special assistance for low-income families. Big data is being used to better identify those customers that will be most likely to take part in a program. The energy industry has leveraged big data for this very purpose. Whereas before, all energy companies had for data was from monthly usage rates, now big data creates much more information through smart meters which can monitor energy usage every 15 minutes. Combining that information with data from census figures and weather organizations, energy companies can create customer segments identifying those people likely to benefit the most from entering an energy efficiency program. Once identified, those same customers will receive messages encouraging them to make the switch to the program.


Businesses are still finding the best ways to utilize big data for customer segmentation, but as the above examples show, once used correctly it can be a major benefit for both the company and the customer. When more companies are on board, customers will have a more personalized, and ultimately satisfying, experience with businesses.


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