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Transform information into cash

How To Transform Information Into Cash

Data isn’t worth much by itself. To generate revenue from user data or transform information into cash, you need to put it in context, understand what it means, and then flip it into useful, pertinent information!

With the onset of digitization of most modern marketing efforts, an entirely new world within the reams and bytes of data flowing from customer interactions has arisen—the data economy! Now more than ever, data-driven marketing, user analytics and capturing the goings-on from audiences within your web traffic circles have been understood to be the true potential gateways for ultimate growth. Business leaders can design top-of-the-line marketing campaigns and forge the deepest connection to be had with each and every customer. 

More Data-Driven Marketing Related Content from HVMA:
► The Future Of Personalization in Digital Marketing
► Using Identity Resolution To Create A 360-Degree View Of Your Customers
Predictive Analytics in the Booming Casino Industry

► Omnichannel Marketing – The Ultimate Marketing Pathway

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*More Data-Driven Content from HVMA: Are you ready to get a ROI from social media?

 

Big data and its phenomenon has already turned the tides of global economies and the complex data/management industries. Business owners, hip marketing teams and tech gurus are peering into this budding dimension and attaining new methods to create data profitability. AOL, the crux of the Internet during the 90s, now prides itself as a foremost ad-exchange firm. Their greatest new asset? Plastered across the front of their site—a group of people socializing, partying and laughing. 

“A publisher’s audience in their currency,” they dictate. “No matter how they make money from content—be it through advertising, paid subscription or syndication, a publisher’s core asset is audience and audience data,” (PCmag, 2018). Truer words have never been spoken!

Today digital marketing terrain involves copious amounts of information that must be processed at the speed of demand. Consumers don’t care how long this takes or how resource-intensive it can be—all they know is they’re engaging with your brand online, you have their information (either consensually or, as is the norm in the US, behind-the-scenes) and you need to know what they want or desire before they do. Sounds simple enough, right? 

Thing is, advertisers are realizing the many hidden keys that can unlock these answers stowed away in mobile web traffic interaction, fingerprint browsers, SDKs inside smartphone apps, and even the subtle, ultrasonic waves emitted from your television which your iPhone can understand—and that carries valuable information within it!

However, how can any of this really be possible? Are these methods ethical, and how are companies these days overcoming challenges tied to the manifestation of revenue and cash from data and information? Finally, how can transforming information into cash directly benefit your company or brand, and how can you implement it today? Let’s find out!

Transform Information of Your Audience By Making Better Data-Driven Decisions 

Andrew Wells, CEO of Aspirent and co-author of “Monetizing Your Data: A Guide to Turning Data Into Profit-Driving Strategies and Solutions” pretty accurately describes the nature of the marketing industry as it were and how it has evolved exponentially into what we see today. That being said, today’s company execs are still focusing on the wrong instructions being sent to data scientists. 

“In the old era of analytics, [they] were clustered around a question. The question helped you describe what was going on in the business.” However, the corrective and more effective approach is orienting decisions rather than questions as the core focus, and then collecting data to determine the execution of that decision…or whether to regroup and reassess. 

“A decision is actionable,” Wells explains. “Simply helping someone answer a question doesn’t necessarily help them move the needle on a particular part of their business. But if you help them make a decision, you’re making the analytics actionable…” By implementing decision theory, companies can guide themselves toward more feasible and high-ROI centered options that yield the greatest reward in the form of customer acquisition, lead conversions and better customer relationships. 

As today’s digital marketing knows, the prime focus of most, if not all modern marketing efforts is to provide a more seamless, thorough and pleasant user experience for their audience. We also know that creating buyer profiles, segmenting product/service lines as well as divvying up your customer pool can efficiently break up monumental marketing campaigns that target hundreds or thousands of people into more manageable, bite-sized pieces. 

And now we gather an appreciation for the data economy before us—and how better leveraging data can segue brands to make decisions that can earn them raw revenue. Operating blindly with ‘gut-feel’ in such a volatile terrain won’t cut it anymore. Rather, by consolidating user data with what is already known, digging deeper to uncover more information and customer needs, and empowering your firm with the ability to manifest cash from these invaluable data pools can lead to marketing success. Utilize this data support to monetize what’s already been laying around in front of you, while you crank the gears for all the potential business to come!

Collecting Data By Understanding Your Customer 

So, why in particular does data carry so much weight, and how exactly is it a pathway to earning power? The value is drawn from how it’s used in online advertising spaces. Specifically targeting individuals and buyer segments has proven vastly superior to the traditional styles of widely cast, random and uncertain marketing blankets cast across large groups of consumers of whom nothing was known about. 

Targeted ads, however, not only result in more sales, a cleaner user experience and generate more clicks—they appeal directly to the consumer by caring about them genuinely and relating to them because it is literally all pulled from that very person’s same historical data sets, digital footprint and online behavioral observations! Another level deeper into targeted advertising, we come across ad retargeting.

Retargeting is essentially accounting for a person’s previous online activity in order to push ads their way. The foremost manifestation of this very clever strategy has presented itself as tracking pixels! The name marketers are most familiar with is Facebook Pixel, the social platform’s native  pixel tracking outlay. Tracking pixels are little pieces of JavaScript code tags that can be embedded within a website and integrated within third-party data receiving platforms. 

When a person loads the webpage, the tag notices, fires and captures all the critical identifying information tied to the event, such as the IP address that visited, the time and date, how they engage with the site, and even more diverse pieces of marketing gold. And once you trigger the pixel? It (slightly creepily) follows you in your journey across the web—even popping up again on another site or in a video. It quietly places itself within these domains, ready before the customer even knows it!

Now that we’ve established a fundamental understanding of the data economy, how a shift in conceptual thinking can restructure your brand’s operations more cleanly and why it is important to make use of the data swimming around us every second, we can now explore the inherent method needed to implement this powerful new strategy yourself and help your company take advantage of its many benefits.

WHAT TRANSFORMING INFORMATION INTO CASH LOOKS LIKE 

Adopting such a new and expansive marketing initiative such as transforming information and data into capital can be a tall order—unless you have the know-how and tools at your disposal to correctly reformat your marketing infrastructure and approach towards consumers. Many companies don’t actually realize the sheer amount of precious data just lying around candidly, stowed away due to security compliance requirements or hidden underneath the analog/digital platforms that may contain them. One example is illustrated in that of CCTV footage in retail locations or shops. 

Typically, this technology is used for security or payment reasons, but the real value in this technology can only be unearthed by the tactful marketer! These cameras obviously record and store their footage and other input data on drives, the cloud, etc. This data, if properly tagged and categorized, can in fact be utilized to track and map customer movements in and around the store, even going as far as to develop heat maps for areas of focus and sales hot-points. 

A management team could effectively understand which spots on shelves are the best to place product, areas that are more prone to shoplifting, and how and why customers make certain purchase decisions—we’ve all seen a product sitting randomly amongst a pile of a completely different item and thought to ourselves, “a decision was made here!” 

Now let’s wrap this example within another layer. Take pharmaceutical drugs. We have our customers perusing around the pharmacy, right? Prescriptions which are tracked can be used to create databases for interaction details and decision points, and allow analysts to understand which medicines are effective for which ailments, and when they are preferred. This, ultimately, can help healthcare brands avoid cross-effects and save budget, to later be reinvested in the right places. 

Making money from data means you must know from where all your data is trickling—or pouring out of! Keeping an open-minded and weary approach can help construct the most accurate framework within which your company can operate. Taking both quantified, tabular data and qualitative, free-flowing data (such as customer reviews) into an unbiased, balanced consideration is crucial. Try consolidating call recordings, footage, audio clips and direct feedback from customers to fully comprehend where weakness points lie, and what reform can be immediately executed. 

Later on, construct data-driven models relative to your gathered intel and channel them into predictive analytics algorithms that do the heavy lifting for you. Ultimately, the truest understanding for your client’s preferences and aversions can be ascertained and one can take reflexive and decisive action to recycle that growth; the bread and butter of any modern marketer’s digital strategy. The IDC has estimated the worldwide revenues for big data and consumer analytics will cross $200 billion in 2020—nearly 65% more than the $130.1 billion spent in the year prior. Inherently, businesses have already made the shift toward data-driven decision strategies and designing workflows conducive to drawing from the plethora of data shimmering around them. 

CONVERTING THE DATA YOU’VE COLLECTED INTO MEANINGFUL ROI 

As Andrew Wells deftly put it, “The big challenge now is that you have all this data you’re collecting, but just throwing data scientists at it and hoping they come up with insights that are commercially viable tends to be a very costly and unproductive exercise,” (Quickbase). This is where that aforementioned decision-over-question approach comes into play. 

After all, in consideration of a company’s day-to-day operations, the focus remains on what methods can help them make better decisions. “It’s not ‘give me a tool that helps me mine data,” Wells remarks. Such a naive approach is indeed reminiscent of an antiquated and blunt approach from a time long gone.

 When users interact online now, it is virtually impossible to engage with a band or platform and refusing them to elicit any of your user information. It has simply become an irrefutable—and honestly quite subconscious—understanding that must exist (You wouldn’t drive a car and then complain when it needs maintenance or fuel, right? It’s an inherent part of the experience!) 

Bill Budington, senior staff technologist with Electronic Frontier Foundation, put it plainly: “People don’t have a lot of options if they’re going to interact with the world,” (PCmag, 2018). With the data collected, an opportunity arises to help create something special. A diverse and meaningful bond can be forged with the person who’s information you tenderly handle….sort of like karma! 

Good data karma, which involves transforming personalized data into something meaningful for the recipient, can help ensure your return customers have positive user experiences. On the other hand, manipulating, or taking advantage of this highly sensitive data can bite you and your firm in the back down the line.

A DANGEROUS GAME: PLAYING WITH PEOPLE’S DATA

Many questionable practices have arisen in this new digital scape, particularly with companies who seek to not only harvest consumers’ personal information, but exploit it further, buy more data, and spook consumers with less-than-savory marketing ploys. This approach, while somewhat clever, ends up blurring the lines of ethical business practices and placing your brand in jeopardy. This may not necessarily be enforced from governmental regulations either, as the mediocrity of current regulations and privacy laws within the domain of data economies only worsens, but instead the power is in the customer’s hands. 

And they can walk away from your brand just as easily as it takes to click on an ad. It has been proven time and time again with conglomerates such as Facebook, Google, Apple and other tech giants getting themselves repeatedly involved in and admonished from countless data privacy scandals. DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg openly airs his distaste for Google—a company known for its robust search engine and various technological pursuits, actually started making its billions in a very different way. 

The company, owned by parent firm Alphabet, initially operated not as a smartphone or operating system developer or web browsing pioneer. Google was actually primarily a digital ad platform that carefully tracked its users’ search entries, online activities and meanderings and sold it to the highest bidders. While borderline sinister, the ingenious approach granted the brand endless insight into the activities of its users sourced from its highly robust consumer approach. Everything worked seamlessly in the background while they learned everything they needed to know about you!

 “What people don’t realize is that there are these hidden tracks across the web scooping up your personal information,” warns Weinberg. The concerns don’t end here, as Weinberg expresses his own worries for the social effects of information transformation. Many apps and services gather and sell data to other such service providers and often, in exchange for ad retargeting—subtly encouraging return customers and conversions to close the deal. 

Or they make moves out-of-sight, as Google did when a particularly secret deal with MasterCard was exposed. The agreement opened up vast, untapped pockets of credit card data to consolidate with existing personalized data sets. A sleazy tactic from a renown brand that has been around for decades. An overall lack of oversight and regulation in this domain can lead to invasive marketing practices within a world that users can’t really escape. 

Weinberg argues that both Facebook and Google’s procedures fundamentally operate from driving clicks. And if that’s all they’re worried about, why do they care what their users believe or think…right? “Youre paying with your data, but youre also literally buying stuff,” Weinberg claims.

 

More Data-Driven Marketing Related Content from HVMA:
► The Future Of Personalization in Digital Marketing
► Using Identity Resolution To Create A 360-Degree View Of Your Customers
Predictive Analytics in the Booming Casino Industry

► Omnichannel Marketing – The Ultimate Marketing Pathway

 

DELIVERING THE RIGHT CONTENT TO THE RIGHT PERSON IN THE RIGHT WAY!

After uncovering many of the systemic issues within this fresh marketing terrain, one may turn uneasy at the prospect of so much risk and uncertainty. However, utilizing big data and personal information tracking in the right manner can yield powerful results for your firm and establish you as a trustworthy and competent name in the field. Remember—customers don’t hate advertisements or marketing. 

They don’t refuse to entrust you with their data. It’s a matter of approaching them in the correct way, avoiding the temptation to bite off more than you should chew and positioning yourself transparently amongst your audience! Below, we have explored some of the most potent and rewarding strategies by which one can properly use the method of transforming information into cash to its fullest advantage.

  1. Management – By using automation, managers can understand what works, what to avoid and the best decisions that can move them towards their objectives Through more precise analyses of the data at hand (or data being harvested), they can avoid needing to anticipate and waste time on guesswork that is inefficient and obsolete. Rather, generating predictive analysis approaches through hypothesis-testing and controlled experimentation can yield unwitting answers to questions that management needs answers to—with minimal risk and maximum efficiency.
  2. Customer Service – Segmentation has existed within digital marketing domains as a great tool within the overall arsenal. Paired with data mining and information transformation, brands can see which products and services best fit within their segments’ needs and preferences. Facebook, for example, matches their ads and platform features with users who need them. They read behavioral patterns, consolidate a person’s data and rearrange their suggestions to best match that person’s tastes.
  3. Product/Service Innovation – Social media has become one of the most powerful tools for and and every marketer. Therefore, drawing from potential within these platforms is a no-brainer! Pulling consumer insights from tweets, posts, and media can equip companies with the intelligence to adequately research, plan, develop and create products and services that innovate towards the customer’s needs. And with data becoming its own standalone product with inherent value, analysts have acquired rich insights that they can deliver to companies and kick open the gates to earning potential.
  4. Operations – Working off of the past is just that—a thing of the past! It’s too cumbersome and careless to operate retrospectively. Now, preventative measures from predictive analytics can arm companies with the necessary and pertinent intel to avoid pitfalls and possible business crises. GE uses this to monitor their clients’ jet engine performance, alerting them when maintenance or issues are anticipated—well ahead of time.
  5. New Business Models – Big data means big business—and big growth. As such, new marketing innovations have led to new business ventures within the industry. These inventive firms are creating digital marketing tools currently on the rise with data prominence. Location services, for instance, are exploding with so many people using smartphones and devices for navigation or third-party apps. Insurance companies can now accurately price based on driving behavior by attaching tiny devices within the vehicles rather than the flat parameter of a person’s age. Quite similar to the tracking pixel concept mentioned earlier!
  6. Implications – With such copious amounts of data spanning across thousands or millions of individuals, the task of properly managing and making sense of this tirade of information can be daunting. Now, business leaders and organizations are inventorying their data assets and realizing the opportunities which hide the most value. Tech development is integral, since trained professionals must be trusted to handle such exorbitant quantities of data, and to effectively aggregate and parse through these seas of data. 

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F.A.Q.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most common questions, along with the complete answers from our social media support experts.

On your LinkedIn profile, there is a button toward the bottom of your profile that says, “Link Facebook.” When you click here, you will be asked for your Facebook information. When you do this, you can easily connect everything together.

On your LinkedIn profile, go to your profile drop down menu in the top right hand corner. Open it and click on “Privacy and Settings.” Directly under “Settings” in the top right hand corner, click on “Manage your Twitter Settings.” This will bring you to another page which invites you to add your Twitter information.

Go to your profile and click “lists.” Create a short description for each list, then add different Twitter accounts. You can decide whether you want them to be public or private.

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