Weaving Big Data Together

One of the biggest myths of modern CRM is this prevailing “360 degree” view of the customer.  So many vendors promote that they have this feature in-house, yet, from a data integration perspective, it is frankly impossible to achieve. I lose interest whenever I hear this in a presentation.  A 360 degree view requires that a company properly link common identification threads that enable channel management.  Let me tell you, we are not there yet!

So here are the facts, as I know it, to assist you along your way:

1)  There are 340 million Americans probably living here at the moment.  This includes a lot of undocumented workers.  For example, in Los Angeles, it was once believed that this number was one in ten.  Since 2001, we have very much tightened the borders, making illegal immigration more difficult to estimate and track.  But it is significant.

2)  Most of the largest compiled files, like credit bureaus, have about 270 million names on file.  The math is pretty simple: 340 minus 270 means 70 million are unaccounted for.  This number includes the above undocumented workers, under-age children, and individuals with no permanent address.  This directly effects addressable targeting, effecting direct mail and set-top box marketing.

3)  Although the numbers can be disputed, carriers have sold at least 1 billion cell phones in this country.  Obviously, they get swapped out under carrier plans.  The thought is the active user population is 800 million to billion plus phones, land-line and cell.  The largest phone bank I know is 530 million combined phones.  So realistically, with all other sources, we are at 50 to 60% coverage.   This impacts inbound and outbound telemarketing, and mobile display advertising.

4) The last five years saw the emergence of Data Management Platforms, which represent cookie and IP pools.  On the best days, they can effectively cover 10 to 20% of the US.  This is the glue that links digital banners.  If you are using a Demand Side Platform, they often claim 98% command of the digital advertising space.  It seems meaningless, if you can not tie it back to individuals.

5)  Facebook reached 1.5 billion users this year, globally.  They were once thought to have 50 to 75% of the US.  I am seeing many youthful segments starting to attrite from the network, in favor of Snapchat.  This company just reported ad revenue of $100 million, so they are definitely garnering eyeballs.  My guess is that social media reach is 80% for all media, one of the best.

6)  The largest email file is listed at 150 million.  The reality, when matching multiple sources, is that you could achieve no more than 40% penetration. 

Data integration is the rocket fuel that drives programs.  There is no one vendor that commands the space, and you will have to go deep and wide to actually build a comprehensive Big Data view of your customer.  Feel free to chortle loudly at that next vendor pitch that claims they are a 360 degree view company.  

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