Data Mining: A crucial endeavor for your digital marketing strategies
Today, the success of any enterprise depends heavily on the search and processing of data. In the business world, it is widely said that this task is essential, since marketing and, specifically, digital marketing, could hardly work without the necessary data that later becomes information and, then knowledge, which allows the creation and application of any sales strategy. This is where data mining comes into play: the set of technologies and computer techniques that help you to explore large databases automatically, semi-automatically or even manually. A constant question from companies around the world is related to their ‘battlefield.’ How to know customers, the market, the competition or the trends, among other phenomena? Companies usually answer to these questions through market research, but little by little they have realized that there are different and even more effective sources for this purpose. Data mining is quite useful for finding repetitive patterns or trends that help to evaluate the behavior of the information flow in a given context.
Data mining emerged with the aim of understanding the content of an information repository. From the beginning, and still, people have used statistical techniques, algorithms and mathematical models to collect and analyze data. One of the technologies which have been most useful in this field is the automation of processes, hand in hand with artificial intelligence.
The starting point is usually the proper construction of databases. Many people and organizations sell and buy databases for further data mining. An example of this is Facebook. Users use its services for communication among friends and followers, but this company really trades with the information of those millions of users. Such data is highly valuable for companies that need to know and understand their niches, shopping trends, positive and adverse opinions about certain products or services, among other things.
Databases can be built in many ways. The more traditional methods are surveys, comment boxes and the direct and personal gathering of information between service providers or product sellers and their customers. However, there are more sophisticated, fast and massive methods, such as web analytics and metrics, as well as monitoring systems on websites, forums and social networks like Hootsuite, for example, to know users’ opinions about a particular brand and more.
Without data mining, it would be very difficult to know the reasons why a service is failing, as well as to understand the real reasons why any company’s sales decrease or increase at certain moments.
Data mining is closely related to Big Data: the series of technologies that seek to store, process, analyze and understand data that each day gains more volume, flows faster in an incalculable variety of categories and, above all, represents a great value for individuals and organizations. In fact, some claim that Big Data is today’s gold, the main asset that puts the global economy and industry in motion.
Without Big Data it would not be possible to classify the information or turn it into knowledge. For this reason, it has become the raw material for ethnography and demography (the two bases of market research.) Every day, 2.5 quintillions of bytes are generated from sources as diverse as vehicle sensors, surveillance cameras, smartphones, Internet of things or simply every click done on any computer connected to the Internet anywhere in the world.
Therefore, a data mining process seeks to have the collected data translated into useful reports in order to generate a proper decision making in a business (as well as other terrains, like politics.) The sub-processes that make up data mining basically consist of customer analysis, the analysis of their experiences, risk assessments, the compliance with laws related to the company’s commercial activity and the targeting by the physical location of consumers. To this extent, data mining gives direction to marketing: it shows possibilities to follow, along with improving the delivery of services, saving time and, of course, reducing operating costs.
Today, data is no longer useful just for understanding the events that already have happened. Data mining and Big Data technologies essentially seek to know the present for making executive decisions that impact future events.
The basic tools for proper data mining can be found in loyalty programs, sales reports, web analytics, and, of course, databases. These tools are used to develop a four-level analysis: a description of current phenomena, a diagnosis of these phenomena, a prediction about what might happen to them, and, finally, a prescriptive analysis that indicates the strategies to be followed with the aim of producing the desired effects.
If you have reached a point in your business where you understand that you must change the course of things, data mining may be your keyword to achieve the success of your activities.