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Windows of Opportunity: Big Data and Marketing

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Big data has long stopped being a buzzword and has transformed into yet another pillar of business in 2018. In fact, even entities like the IRS and the Atlanta Falcons have been using big data to improve their processes - or playbook, as the case may be. When it comes to success stories, the most visible are coming out of the marketing arena. Leading financial institutions are leaning on big data to tailor marketing campaigns, especially when it comes to rewards programs. 

Big data can help credit unions

  • Learn more about their membership
  • Increase customer loyalty and engagement
  • Streamline marketing operations and budget spending
  • Better target members based on transaction history


Data analytics go hand in hand with marketing automation, helping marketers identify the right customers and the right conditions in which to engage them. One only has to take a look at how companies like Google and Facebook are using data from their users for hyper-specific targeting. The use of this data can be controversial, but is nearly ubiquitous and can result in some ingenious marketing tactics. For example, shampoo companies have been known to target customers in dry environments with hydrating shampoos. Live in a humid climate? Those customers may expect to see an ad for anti-frizz products. 

Credit unions can apply this same principle based on the transactional data of their members. Large regional banks are already using targeted offers to great affect, and have moved on to using analytics to build models for which products consumers are likely to buy next, based on their current subscribed services. 

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A few other case studies of how big data is being used in marketing:


Netflix: By studying the data from its customers, Netflix is able to nail down the preferences of its audience, helping it to acquire or in many cases, produce content the company predicts a majority of its customers will enjoy. In this way the company is hedging its bets and anticipating that new shows or movies already have a receptive audience.

Target: One widely publicized story back from 2012 is when Target used purchasing data to predict which of its customers were pregnant. The premise is simple enough: purchases of lotion and supplements are all indicative of the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Buying a certain type of soap, cotton balls and washcloths? Target now assumes that customer might be getting close to their delivery date and they may expect to see some targeted ads in their email inbox. 

British Airways: The airline combines online data with previous customer histories to produce targeted offers. A frequent flyer to tropical destinations? Airlines may seek to offer customers vacation packages personalized to their preferences. 

Red Roof Inns: The hotel chain uses historical weather information and high-volume travel data to pinpoint when and where there might be a large amount of stranded airport passengers. Red Roof Inn’s marketing department then uses this information to prepare customized digital marketing that targets potential customers.

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