Technology

Lunchtime Links: Big Data vs. Smart Data

By / Sep 19, 2013 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Using data to create a better customer experience. Also: why organizations struggle with human connection.

Everybody, it seems, wants a ticket on the big-data bandwagon these days. Why it isn’t the size of your data that counts, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links.

Smarter data: You can’t cruise the internet for long these days without hearing about the rise of big data. Organizations are continually looking for ways to use the information they collect to better serve their members. But, as Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer, co-founder of digital customer experience firm Hippo, writes for CMSWire, the key to using data effectively is less about size and more about how intelligently organizations leverage the data they collect to drive change. “Using that data really means a marriage of both the CMO and the CIO and their respective goals,” he writes. It all starts with “intelligent personalization.” As Brenninkmeijer explains it, the goal is to go beyond customized content, which is important, to a fully customized user experience. That experience requires crunching basic user or member data, such as mobile usage and regional trends. But it also necessitates the application of increasingly sophisticated metrics, such as real-time behavior, social media usage, and e-commerce trends and traffic. Want more? Check out his full list.

Human touch: Here’s a test: How many friends do you have on Facebook? Now, how many brands or associations do you “like,” according to your profile? For most of us, the count is disproportionately high in favor of real people. After all, isn’t that what social media is all about—interacting with other humans? Brands and other organizations, try as they might, often struggle to achieve those elusive connections. This comes as no surprise to organizational consultant and author Jamie Notter. “A brand is an abstraction, and with all the talk of humanizing our brands, what I think we’re really talking about is personifying them,” writes Notter for his blog. Rather than attempting to pass your organization’s message on through human channels (e.g., asking staff to tweet on behalf of your association), Notter suggests giving the humans within your organization more leeway and freedom to actually be human. “Social media is great for that, because it allows us to be authentic,” he writes. “When we tap into that human element, we find a whole lot of power.” How does your organization connect with members on a personal level?

Campaign manager: As Jamie Notter mentions above, reaching out to members and customers through social media on a personal level is often harder than it seems. That’s one reason why it’s so important for associations to run more effective social media campaigns. A haphazard approach that fails to consider the challenges your organization is up against isn’t likely to get you very far. Writing for her blog, Mizz Information, veteran community manager Maggie McGary shares her “10 Best Practices for Association Social Media.” Among her tips: Use surveys to understand how your members use social media and “meet [them] where they are,” provide resources to help your members learn to use social media better, and whatever you do, don’t use social media exclusively as a marketing channel. There’s that human touch again.

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Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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