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Element of surprise can assist big data in marketing campaigns

Richard Jones Archive

Companies go to great measures to ensure data quality because it's an essential element of an effective marketing campaign. In order to reach out to consumers and make long-lasting connections, you must verify that the information you've gathered on your client base is accurate, and that includes using address verification software to confirm that phone numbers, email addresses and street addresses have been entered correctly. Once you've finished that step, you can proceed to reach out to potential customers using the arsenal of information at your disposal.

Big data is universally respected as a key element in marketing. The more you have, the more analysis you can perform on your industry, and the more influence you can gain with potential customers. According to Harvard Business Review, however, there's another important element that must work in conjunction with big data - the element of surprise.

Marketing is like a poker game. If you have a royal flush, you want to bet big and win a lot of money. But if you only wager when you have that big hand, your opponents will know what's coming and fold every time. A marketer must think the same way, offering a variety of deals and promotions that will keep people on their toes. If every store is sending out coupons right before Black Friday, maybe you should distribute yours in July instead. It keeps consumers guessing.

Wael Asaad, assistant professor of neurosurgery at Brown University, explained to Harvard Business Review that the element of surprise triggers a response in people's brains.

"It's been known for a long time that it's unexpected events, in particular, that drive learning," Asaad said. "Thinking in terms of desired consumer behavior can unlock innovative strategies. When developing an advertising campaign we are often too focused on the question of 'What do we need to say?' Instead, we should focus on the question of 'What expectations do our customers and prospects hold, and how can we turn those on their head?'"

According to CIO, firms can use big data to gain a competitive advantage. By collecting vast amounts of information, corporate leaders can become better informed than their industry rivals, enabling them to make more intelligent decisions. Over-reliance on that information, however, can be more of a curse than a blessing. By becoming more unpredictable, companies can glean the optimal utility from their quality data.