What if you could anticipate what a consumer was about to buy based on his or her Web searches? How about determining where your next target audience resides?
Nearly a decade ago, providing an answer to these two questions seemed somewhat farfetched. However, the Internet has become much "smarter" in the way it tracks and measures the activity of individuals. One search on Google will likely affect the advertisements you'll see on random websites.
Where do you begin?
Whenever an individual's action is recorded on the Web, it's considered "captured" information. Qualitative data analysis regards these instances and essentially creates a map displaying a person's interests, desires, needs and (on a much higher level) personality.
For marketers, harnessing this technology means improving customer satisfaction, easily attracting new business and supporting loyalty programs with acute intelligence.
"Live to ride"
Suppose I was looking to purchase a Harley-Davidson Sportster, of which there are six models. After customizing my hog on H-D's website and looking for used bikes on Craigslist, I receive a targeted email asking if I was a new rider, and if I was, would I like to receive a discount on the Iron 883™?
What's the significance of this? I spent more time searching for the Iron 883™ on Craigslist than any other Sportster model, and that was the bike I customized on H-D's Webpage. Data analysis software showed the manufacturer's marketing team that I was more likely to purchase the Iron 883™ than any other version, so that's what incited an offer.
What's your attitude?
Forbes contributor Daniel Newman noted how data visualization can be applied to social information – i.e. the comments you post on forums and social media sites – as well as the questions you submit to companies. This medium can provide insight into an individual's personality.
All things considered, the Sportster line is pretty tame. However, the recommendation I received from H-D may have been different if I shared videos on Twitter and Facebook showing motorcycles moving at high speeds. Comments asserting a want for a powerful engine would indicate that I may be interested in H-D's V-Rod Muscle®, which according to Whitenoise contributor Geekymitch, hits 70 mph before it reaches 4th gear.
Considering the elements I noted above, it's easy to see just how sophisticated and flexible predictive analytics tools can be. Not only can they scrutinize the data produced by tracking cookies and online behavior, they're also capable of deducing personalities based on social interactions.