Quantifying the Physical World with a Product-Based Approach

In the past, measuring human population, demographics and other physical variables across the globe meant a paper survey or census. Census collection has been fraught with errors, controversy, and at times, has been blatantly unfair to certain groups of ethnicities or cultures. Yet every country needs basic information on its population for purposes of planning, development, and improvement of the residents’ quality of life.

Good planning is based on reliable, up-to- date, accurate and detailed information on the state of the society in the country. This information makes it possible to plan better services, improve the quality of life and solve existing problems.

Businesses and the Need for Gathering Data

In business, the idea of gathering census data about consumers is equally as important for many of the same reasons governments use the information. Quantifying and understanding the physical world in terms of understanding consumers’ digital and offline behavior, while mapping their journey across multiple touchpoints can improve product development and placement on a global scale. By having access to real-world consumer footprints and analytics in real time, businesses have the potential to make decisions on product marketing quicker and more reliably.

Modern-day consumers make billions of transactions, purchases, interactions, and information queries across connected devices, but how do businesses make useful sense of all this data?The answer is to use these data streams in real-time to create more seamless experiences, that the consumer can actually benefit from. Location data, for example, is one identifier that connects multiple data sets like weather, spend, retail, traffic, demography, and content to identify the who, when, and where in the real world. This convergence of multiple data points can be done in real time only in a product environment.

Think in terms of running a census for any place in the world in real time – their demography, interests, home locations, affluence, etc., then processing that data immediately. This power can enable organizations to understand the dynamics of their target audience, in today’s connected environment, by leveraging diverse public and proprietary data sets and curating audience segments based on historical and real-time data. This creates an advantage that empowers organizations to trigger strategies in real-time, maximize efficiency, and provide the ability to measure the impact of their marketing using attribution analytics.

Data Products: Building the Gap between the Physical and Digital Worlds

Data products enable businesses to connect the digital world together with the physical world and subsequently measure the results in real time. This combination also aids the government in solving real-world challenges, like smart city planning.

Another powerful implementation of using data products for organizations is converging location data with the spend and transaction data. To take this another step further, adding meteorological data can trigger promotion right to the devices where the consumer is active currently and provide product offers, like ice cream or coffee, to drive walk-ins at the moment of inclement weather. Then organizations can measure those walk-ins, determine all required information about their consumers’ age, purchases, and related details so that they can make data driven decisions in marketing, operations and strategy.

Some Examples

Consider the example of a middle-to-big-sized supermarket. By converging multiple datasets using location data, they found that 17% of their consumers visited the supermarket within 7 days of browsing through the supermarket app, 38% had browsed through the supermarket website before walking in, and 24% had been exposed to a billboard with the supermarket promotion. After visiting the store, 37% of the consumers went to the supermarket website, 8% visited the supermarket app, and 43% went to a competitor.

This is good data, but now the question is, how does the supermarket use it to improve its sales and strategize for the future? The answer is that by using this data, the supermarket can actually map its consumers’ journeys in the physical world as well as across various channels (app, website, billboards in this case), and then correlate this with their channel spends to analyze if it is investing in the right channels. This will help the supermarket figure what they are doing well, what needs to be improved, and what their competitors are doing better. This information can, thereby, lay a solid foundation of their future strategy.

Now, consider another example of a global retailer, catering to consumers who fall in the 18-25 age range. They are an influential segment when buying branded products. However, this segment in London might be engaging with completely different brands as compared to the 18-25 year olds in New York. So, if the global retailer could effectively localize its marketing campaigns to this segment in London and New York, it will see better returns on spends.

Data Is the Future

Data with enhanced context on the consumer is the future. It can help make smarter decisions for your brand, which will result in better returns. It redefines how your brand gathers insights about its consumers and interacts with them in real time. It enables you to measure and compare the impact of your business decisions across different audiences and channels, and optimize your investment. Hence, investing in products that help you get data pertinent to your brand and make it actionable is the key to staying ahead in the connected world.

Also published in StreetFight Magazine.