One of the big moments of the Interact conference from the past three years is the event highlight video we show at the closing session on the last day. It’s just a quick recap of the event through two-minutes of live clips and photos, but all three years now it’s been greeted with delighted cheers from all the attendees. Part of the positive reaction is that everyone likes to see themselves in snapshots, and there’s plenty of that as we do put a lot of effort into getting pictures or video of as many attendees as possible into the mix.

But more than anything, we’ve been very fortunate to have had Shawn Lloyd and his team at Digital Design Factory heading our photo and video recording efforts the past three years. Shawn does an amazing job capturing not just the event itself – the speakers, the between-session chats, the group vibe – but he also shows off the local venues, the food and drink, Gaslamp Quarter streetscapes and Mission Bay as only a local with a sharp eye and keen skills can. And, amazingly enough, he always manages to get this piece compiled, sequenced, captioned and finalized with sounds and music all within a few hours the last morning of the event so it can be shown that afternoon.

Give it a look. And if you haven’t been able to attend an Interact yet, just ask yourself: why would you want to miss this next year?

Find out why so many of our clients love using Momentum from Message Systems with Forrester white paper, The Total Economic Impact of the Momentum Platform.

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If you’ve read about The Open Rate Paradox as championed by Dela Quist and Alchemy Worx, you’ll be familiar with the rallying cry of sending more relevant email. Most email experts get up in arms about the topic of email frequency, with both sides arguing the pros and cons of sending more.

At Interact 2013, we were able to hear from Dela Quist himself, who started off with an overview of demand response marketing versus demand generation marketing. While demand response marketing is based on giving the customer what you think they want, demand generation marketing is based on making the customer want what you have.

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Are Email Marketers Leaving Money On The Table?

Anyone without an email address is the digital equivalent of being homeless. If you ask people if they want more email, they will say no, but if you ask people for preferred communications channel, they would say that it was email. Sell to them, because that is what they want you to do. Most brands reach more qualified customers and prospects via email than TV. Perhaps a reluctance to sell is based on email marketers being filled with fear and self-loathing because of the negative image of the industry.

“Engagement is like having a deaf blind canary in a coal mine”

Understanding the nature of engagement is key to email marketing success, yet many people who talk about engagement have no measurable goal.

79% of people who receive email do nothing with it, and only 1 in 2,000 people will mark your email as spam. A particular client’s cost of stopping an unsubscribe was $400, while the cost of acquiring a new customer was $5.  New people on your mailing list are most likely to open emails and transact with you.

According to Dela, marketing emails have a far higher chance of getting into the inbox at 95% and open rates increase on days of higher email volume. He advises companies to hire someone specifically to grow lists, as that is the easiest way to grow revenue – and to fire them if they fail. Two other tactics for growing revenue? Segmentation and increasing email frequency.

“Anyone who doesn’t send an email to their entire list once a week is dumb”

Email drives sales in other channels. Send an email with a different subject line to people who didn’t open it the first time – it can lead to a 40% lift in open rates. Dela says that 80% of email marketers use batch and blast because it works, and also introduces the concept of The Nudge Effect, where subject lines tend to influence people who do not open their emails. Being in the inbox is important, even if emails aren’t opened. It is important to understand that every email you send is affected by the one you sent before and the one after. While 90% of emails are opened within 24 hours of sending, only 15% of purchases may take place then, with the revenue possibly being generated days or months after deployment.

At Alchemy Worx, it is a policy that every email sent is a re-activation opportunity.  You can’t re-engage with an email you don’t get, and businesses with the highest frequency sends have the most engaged database. Deliverability begins and ends with the quality of your data, but marketing should not be driven by deliverability issues.

As always, Dela’s talk was a firecracker of a session inviting rebuttals from the audience and great debate. If you’d like to find out more about the issues that he highlighted check out his book:

Looking to increase your email frequency? Troubleshoot your deliverability issues first with our guide on How To Send Zillions of Email A Day!

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What’s keeping you up at night?

No conference on digital messaging would be complete without a discussion on deliverability – especially in high volume seasons. Taking to the stage at Interact 2013 to address this specific subject were email veterans, Greg Kraios, Founder and CEO at 250ok and Matthew Vernhout, Chief Privacy Officer and Manager of Deliverability for Inbox Marketer.

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Greg and Matthew set the tone for the session right off the bat by opening the floor up to attendees for debate, allowing for a rapid exchange of ideas and discussions. They highlighted 6 key issues of particular concern to email marketers.

#1 Privacy & Anti-Spam Legislation (status of CASL, expectations)

The email experts kicked off the deliverability discussion with the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. An example of the prohibitions under the new law would be:

“sending of commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s consent (permission), including messages to email addresses and social networking accounts, and text messages sent to a cell phone”

US marketers were worried about how the legislation would affect them. Since the panel, the government has announced that the anti-spam laws will go into effect on Jul 1 2014. Under the law, prior consents will remain valid – a huge relief to marketers. For more details on what the CASL changes mean for marketers, check out this article by Marketing Magazine. As per Matthew’s quote in the article, “From a marketer point of view, it’s got big scary numbers, but if you’re following good practices and you’re following the opt-in process and you have functional unsubscribes, then compliance really isn’t going to be that big of a challenge.”

#2 Holiday Volumes (ISP expectations, client expectations, rate limits, response metrics)

During the holidays, both marketers and spammers increase email volumes. Olga Gavrylyako from Google agreed that Google saw much higher volumes of email, spam and phishing during the holidays. Greg stated the need to set expectations on how timely email would be on holidays like Black Friday. DMARC email authentication was also important for businesses – a company suffered a drop in customer engagement when its email template was hijacked and phishing occurred.

An issue that caused much debate in the email industry last year were incorrect email entries during point-of-sale. Many major brands were listed on Spamhaus for spelling typos in their email lists, so that is something marketers should watch out for.

#3 List Management Tips (dealing with bounces, pre-deployment tests, bounces, data collection, data hygiene)

Customer churn is 20-30% a year for email lists. Marketing is moving towards quality in terms of quantity in information collected. It is not the size of your email lists that matters, but how you use it. For example, marketing email pales in comparison with one-to-one email in creating customer engagement.

#4 Handling Traffic Changes (warming up new IPs, changing IP configs, rate limits, traffic shaping)

Matthew commended Adaptive Delivery® – the automated deliverability technology built into the Message Systems Momentum platform – in aiding IP warm-up, citing smoother delivery rates as well. When it comes to a new IP, businesses should send 10,000 messages a day according to Microsoft. Before sending email, it is also wise to sign up for feedback loops.

#5 Tabs & Junk Filters (expectations, challenges, tactics)

Educate the coding team so emails do not look like spam. Greg made the point that tabs have a positive impact on customers because emails are no longer competing with social messages. However, this appears to differ between businesses. An attendee saw a 20% dip in performance and subsequent drop in conversion rates using tabs.

#6 Transactional vs Commercial Emails (effective management of resources, data collection and use, pitfalls and hurdles)

In summary, it is a best practice to segment transactional and marketing emails.

The key takeaway of the discussion on deliverability was to collect proper email opt-ins. During the highly interactive session, interesting questions were raised by Dela Quist from Alchemy Worx: Should engagement indicate consenting to having an email in the inbox rather than open and click rates? And do you need to open an email to be influenced by it? While the jury appeared to still be out on those issues, the open debate inspired by Craig and Matthew’s session sparked much food for thought for the day and in the following Interact sessions as well.

The Interact 2013 Internet Service Providers Panel

To call the 2013 Internet Service Providers Panel at Interact a high point of the conference would be a bit of an understatement. Highly anticipated by the email professionals assembled, it was the most well-attended session of the entire event, it sparked the liveliest discussion and debate, and it, well, delivered.

The Gatekeepers Of Email Speak

The relationship between large-volume email senders and ISPs is, of course, not always an easy one. For big senders like email service providers (ESPs), social networks and banks, reliably getting messages into the inboxes that ISPs control is key to business success. Getting blacklisted by an ISP can cripple a sender’s ability to reach their customers. So if it’s your job to manage your company’s email operations – and that is exactly the job of 99% of the people in the audience that morning – then your professional success depends in large part on not running afoul of the folks on stage for the ISP panel.

And what a star-studded panel it was: John Scarrow from Microsoft, Olga Gavrylyako from Google, Severin Walker from Comcast and Lachlan Maxwell from AOL all participated. Moderating the panel was Twitter postmaster, Josh Aberant. He kicked off the discussion noting that the agenda was meant to center on helping postmasters get the information they need to do their jobs more effectively. To that end, the panelists spent the first part of the session describing the various resources their organizations have in place to support to help senders get their messages delivered.

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All the big ISPs provide personnel and tools to help postmasters, including a number of online issue resolution tools. For instance, Comcast maintains a dedicated 50-person call center with a toll-free 800 number to help postmasters resolve all kinds of deliverability incidents, while Google is organized on a distributed model where small teams are responsible for individual aspects of the mail process. Microsoft very much takes a technology-oriented approach. While they do have support lines for live help, the Microsoft team finds that phone interactions can actually slow issue resolution in certain cases, and so they seek to keep person-to-person calls to a minimum. One of the ways they do this is through their Junk Mail Reporting or JMR system, which provides feedback loop data and a collection of online tools that empower senders to quickly gain an understanding of what’s happening with their mail streams. As John Scarrow put it, the idea is to allow senders to “go in and poke around to try and figure out what the problem might be so you’re empowered to look at it while it’s happening.”

A wide-ranging discussion of the value of feedback loop services and approaches to handling unwanted to mail transitioned into the pros and cons of junk folders and approaches to helping end users manage their mail more effectively. The group agreed that when recipients get mail that they don’t want, the antipathy people feel toward that mail source grows over time to the point where many people will mark as spam a newsletter they’d enthusiastically subscribed to just a few months earlier. Letting the recipient mark that newsletter as spam can lead to a degradation in the sender’s reputation, which can then snowball into other problems – which is why Gmail is trying several innovative new ways to keep their users from marking legitimate messages as spam.

AOL’s Lachlan Maxwell pointed out that recipients tend to see their incoming messages as a whole, to the point where AOL will get complaints from users saying they’re getting more spam than usual, even though that’s not necessarily the case. “We’ll actually get complaints… where people will say ‘I’m getting too much spam!’ and we go look at the user account, and we’ll find that they’re only getting spam in their spam folder – no spam has gotten to their inbox. People keep track of how much spam they are getting total.”

The benefits of sharing spam data eventually brought the panel around to the subject of junk folders and the emerging trend of priority inboxes, such as Google’s new practice of segregating the Gmail inbox into Primary, Social and Promotions sub-boxes.

Here’s where the competing interests of ISPs and senders came into fairly sharp contrast, and where the session got liveliest. The panelists were more or less unanimous on the subject, and as Comcast’s Severin Walker put it, customers want a smarter inbox… it speaks to the efficient utilization of their time.”

This is a point that bears emphasizing: inbox providers like Gmail, AOL and Outlook.com strive to provide their end-users with the most convenient experiences online – they compete for customers based on which service delivers the most value. And if segregating out commercial email such as daily deal offers and commercial newsletters from personal messages from friends and family make end-users happy, that’s exactly what the ISPs are going to do.

Personal disclosure: I’m a long-time Gmail user. When the Primary inbox shift first came into effect, I found it a little confusing, but once I got used to it I find that I love it.

Want to optimize your email deliverability for success? Get our Six Secrets of Successful Senders guide today!

 

Social media platforms rise and fall – through it all email remains a primary communication channel. Many “email killer apps” are rolling out features that integrate email notification in the engagement process.  In order to sign up to use such apps, the user is often required to have an email for authentication, identification and verification purposes.  In fact, most “email killer apps” still rely on email as a primary notification channel. Herein lies the irony… as well as the need for online brand reputation.

Sam Masiello Head of Application Security, Groupon highlighted the important role email and DMARC continue to play in online communications today in the Best Practices track during Interact 2013.

Sam Masiello Interact 2013

Email is a pre-requisite to signing up for any online accounts and the gateway to your online life — which is precisely why cybercriminals continue to target email to gain access your personal information. Many forms of email authentication exist, one of which is ADSP (Author Domain Signing Practices), an extension to DKIM.  None of these are perfect. ADSP for example, has key gaps with no reporting capability and visibility. It could only be used to set policy and was only adopted by one major provider as the standard – Google.

Enter DMARC

Unlike ADSP, DMARC enjoys the support of major ISPs and mailbox providers — one of the secrets to its success. DMARC celebrated its first birthday in January 2013, but was in development for two years before it was launched.

DMARC is an important part of the email ecosystem, and many global email providers and top senders of email have adopted DMARC. It protects 60% of global mail boxes or 1.9 billion mailboxes and 80% of consumer mail boxes. In Dec 2012, DMARC blocked 325 million messages.

Brands on the DMARC bandwagon include the following:

Brands with DMARC

Groupon, for example, sees phishing attacks every day on their brand, but DMARC is helping to defend against these attacks.  Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and it is getting harder to differentiate authentic emails. Sam illustrated this with an example:

Domain Spoofing

Think this is from Groupon? Think again. While it looks uncannily similar to Groupon’s daily deals, the address should set off warning bells.

Groupon currently has DMARC deployed in 9 countries. Blizzard is another brand that has successfully deployed DMARC to increase brand trust and reduce consumer trust erosion after large scale phishing attacks.

Why Do We Need DMARC?

Threats to email security emerged due to the impact of poor SMTP design. SMTP was developed to send a message from Point A to Point B with no thought to security.

Other email authentication tactics do exist, but DMARC’s advantage here is that it complements the existing email ecosystem. It sits on top of DKIM and SPF, allowing you to get better value out of email authentication.

  • SPF: Path-based authentication, authorized servers published via simple DNS record, low deployment cost
  • DKIM: Signature-based authentication, requires cryptographic operation by email gateways, public keys published via DNS, can survive auto-forwarding
  • DMARC: Leverages SPF and DKIM as authentication mechanisms, provides visibility, email senders set policy to declare how they want email receivers to process email that fails authentication

The Three D’s of DMARC

DMARC is for everyone, it’s easy to deploy and is not a deliverability tool.  DMARC is not able to stop all phishing attacks, however it solves the problem of direct domain spoofing. Authentication has been trending in the direction of giving senders and receivers control and visibility over messaging streams.

The business value of DMARC includes:

  • Increased user trust and loyalty in branded emails
  • Visibility into consistent application of best practices
  • Visibility into compliance assessment

The technical value of DMARC includes:

  • A way for ISPs and mailbox providers to confidently identify your mail
  • Support by major international ISPs and mailbox providers
  • Ability to set policy on how you want ISPs to handle illegitimate email
  • Feedback loop to understand where spoofed email is coming from and where your legitimate mail is failing authentication

Businesses do not have to authenticate all mail today to publish a DMARC record. DMARC protects your brand and it’s easy to get started. In the words of Sam,

DMARC deployment is a journey, not a destination.

To learn more about DMARC from Sam Masiello from Groupon, watch the Don’t Deprioritize DMARC webinar to discover the benefits of adopting DMARC email authentication!

Don't Deprioritize DMARC webinar

Entertainment sites and showbiz blogs nowadays provide episode recaps of popular TV shows soon after they air. Reading these recaps allow you to catch up on the main plot lines of episodes you might have missed but have no time for watching, as the next newer episode is already about to air. While over a hundred attendees were fortunate enough to attend Interact 2013 in San Diego a couple of weeks ago, many were not able to go. So for those of you who missed that “episode”, we present the recap of Interact 2013’s Welcome Keynote!

Episode Aired: Oct 8, 2013             Setting: Paradise Point Resort and Spa

Tuesday morning in San Diego dawned bright and sunny. After the fun poolside cocktail reception the night before, a few might have staggered into the opening keynote session in recovery mode; but all were eager to get Interact 2013 off and running.

George kicked off the session welcoming all attendees and giving an overview of what was in store for the next couple of days: what to expect from the tracks, the content and speakers, the ISP panel, the tech lounge, and the various social and networking opportunities for attendees.

George Interact keynote

Scene 1 – Proliferation of Networks & Device Explosion

Steve took the stage to cover the future of digital messaging, talking about four forces that are shaping this future. First was the proliferation of so many different networks. When sending a message, the sender has to deal with all the different networks today: from ISPs, to carrier/telcos, to mobile push networks like APNS and GCN (Apple and Google). And on the horizon are even more networks like the OTT (over the top) apps that include Whatsapp and Samsung ch@t, Google voice, social networks, and mobile IM. The second force to consider was device explosion: we all know the enormous variety of devices out there, from smartphones, to tablets and e-readers, to smart TVs and wearable devices.

device preferences throughout the day

Scene 2: Increasing Engagement Volumes Through Cross-Channel

The third force shaping digital messaging is the incredible volume of messages being sent – and the rapid growth rate. Some stats mentioned include 7 trillion emails, 2 trillion push notifications to APNS alone, and system generated messages overtaking the number of person-to-person messages in 2014. Lastly, cross-channel is here today: In a recent survey, 39% of respondents cross-channel shopped for credit card, 50% of mortgages closed through cross-channels. But siloed systems to support these cross channel interactions mean longer development cycles, higher cost of maintenance, slower adoption, and loss of customers to competitors who offer a better experience.

These four forces shaping digital messaging today and into the future translate to incredible complexity for companies trying to engage with their customers digitally.

Steve Interact Keynote

Scene 3: The Roadmap For The Future

Next up was Alec, who highlighted what Message Systems is doing today and in the product roadmap to help alleviate companies’ pains in dealing with all these complexities. He first showed the architecture of the Message Systems Digital Messaging Platform, then talked about how we’ve improved the platform’s architecture to take advantage of multi-core systems, to improve performance dramatically, while at the same time reducing latency and hardware requirements.

Alec Interact Keynote

Finally, Dain took over to talk about digital messaging on a global scale: how our international footprint is helping shape the future direction of our offerings to our clients. He cited an example, saying that the Message Systems code written to support DMARC was inspired by the global user community. He also noted that service providers worldwide are looking to see how they can leverage and provide value-added services to their customers – specifically in mobile.

And with that, Dain again thanked attendees for coming and closed the keynote session.

Dain Interact Keynote

Roll end credits:

George = George Schlossnagle, CEO, Message Systems
Steve = Steve Dille, SVP of Marketing, Message Systems
Alec = Alec Peterson, CTO, Message Systems
Dain = Dain McCracken, SVP of International Sales, Message Systems

Get ready for a world that’s shaped by the four forces in digital messaging – watch the cross-channel banking webinar!

Cross Channel Banking Webinar

For the ancient Greeks, the center of social activity was the Agora, a lively marketplace where people came not only to buy and sell goods, but also to meet to exchange news and ideas. That same philosophy is what drives Agora Inc. today, a holding company for various publishers of financial, health, travel and special interest books and newsletters. But news and ideas by themselves don’t make a business. You’ve got to monetize this content – and Agora does this by sending out thirteen and a half million messages every day!

Agora speakers

Daryl Berver, VP of Operations and Getty Sarno, VP of Enterprise Applications began their session during the Best Practices track at Interact 2013 with the following statement that encapsulated their business focus on relationships with customers: The goal of direct response is to deliver the right message at the right time to the right people.

Agora is supported by subscribers rather than advertisers and has built a strong relationship with their subscribers. Back in the day, Agora did not even have a website (although they do have one now!) . The underlying logic behind this decision was summed up in one question: How do you have a relationship with someone that goes to a website?

To Agora, the value of email lay in the fact that it was similar to 1-to-1 interaction and it allowed more frequent communication. When they launched a newsletter, they explained to subscribers why they were receiving a newsletter to define the business-customer relationship.

With this heavy focus on email as a primary touchpoint with their customers, Agora quickly outpaced their systems – and that’s when they found Message Systems. Before this discovery, Agora had one system in place for international messaging and another for the US – this proved to be a nightmare.

Agora needed a scalable multinational system that could quickly manage time-dependent data. They looked at different third party options, and liked the ability to control the look and feel of messages in Message Central so they would be able to better “speak” to customers. Agora pushed information into Message Central to better target subscribers, working with Message Systems to create a custom query builder. While the level of targeting subscribers became more and more complex, it was almost real time in Message Central. Message Central was also easy to use, even non-technical people could use the platform.

We’ve done a pretty good job with email marketing… but what we’re starting to find is customers are moving towards mobile

Increasingly Agora sees more and more people opening emails on their mobile devices and recognizes the need to provide readers with their preferred channels of communication. Looking to the future, Agora has been considering integrating push and social capabilities into their messaging. From a technology perspective, Agora requires flexibility with their messaging platform so as not to stifle marketers – Message Systems provided Agora the ability to segment and customize emails.  The key to their success however, remains the focus on that relationship with the customer and the need to constantly re-engage them. When it comes to mailings, the secret, in Getty Sarno’s words, is to

Watch it, test it, fine tune it.

Read more about Agora’s story or find out more about how integrating email, mobile and push can improve your marketing campaigns in The New Communications Standard white paper!

The New Communications Standard

Spam is a theft of resources.

And with that, Autumn Tyr-Salvia, Email Strategy & Compliance Analyst from Marketo took us all the way back to the 70s with her talk on the history of email spam at Interact 2013. Here’s a quick timeline:

  • 1978: The first case of spam was recorded where spam was sent to Arpanet address.
  • 1994: On April 12, the first occurrence of major Usenet spam was posted to 5500+ groups with the help of a Perl script.
  • 1996: Bayesian filtering for mail was introduced
  • 2001: Spam Assassin, a rule set developed by Bayesian filtering was added to SourceForge and became the first instance of productizing.
  • 2002: Paul Graham’s Plan for Spam made Bayesian filtering a lot more viable.
  • 2003: US CAN-SPAM came into being. Image spam started.
  • 2004: Spam convictions begin.

The History of Spam

“Spammers check their deliverability as well” 

Image spam, faking headers, phishing, snowshoe spam and URL redirection are all spam techniques that have evolved as a result of filtering. In 2006, Spam Assassin caught over 60% of spam, but in 2007, it caught only 30% of spam.

Whitelisting gave rise to header forging, malware and phishing, which in turn gave rise to better whitelisting techniques, and sender authentication such as SPF and DKIM.

Content filtering initially used simple word blocking lists, but this was easy to avoid with misspellings and punctuation. This led to Bayesian filtering where misspellings became immediate spam words and strange punctuation was problematic. Unintentional, poorly thought out domains and subdomains ran into trouble with filters.

Content filtering eventually evolved to weighting which led to super short messages that received extra attention. Next came domain reputation. Use of URL shorteners increased the possibility of emails being blocked. Spammers started to obtain new domains constantly for spamming. As a result, new domains have reduced deliverability and as a tip, domain consolidation is a good idea for a white hat sender.

At a time when text filters were increasingly effective, spammers hit upon the idea of using image spam. These were hard to filter, hence all image messages became difficult to deliver, while text-to-image ratio became important for deliverability. Image spam further evolved where scripts were created to modify each image slightly and spammers started to use CAPTCHA-like techniques. Today advanced filtering techniques have reduced image spam to 6-7%.

“We’ve made smarter spammers”

Deliverability techniques don’t always make sense in today’s spam landscape and some filtering techniques are effective only for a certain period in time, but knowing more about the history of spa can help you to deliver your mail tomorrow. When asked if we’ve finally beaten spam by a member of the audience, Autumn replied, “We’ve made smarter spammers.”

It’s clear from Autumn’s talk that the history of spam is really that of a never-ending race between spammers and ISPs to stay one step ahead of each other and that looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Aside from combating spam, find out what it takes to become a successful email sender with The Six Secrets of Successful Senders Guide!

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Are you able to define big data? What do you understand about large data sets and big data analysis? And more importantly, how do you work with big data?

These are pertinent questions that most C-level executives are concerned with in an age of big data.  The definition of big data aside, both big data applications and big data analytics are issues that many businesses are grappling with. Dan Bolland, Global Head of Retail Analytics, Barclays, and the first speaker for the Best Practices Track for Interact 2013, provided some key insights for consideration in his session that outlined a pragmatic, incremental approach to big data. Dan drilled down to the operational basics of big data, providing a starting point for businesses wishing to delve deeper into their big data sets.

The 4 Vs of Data – Value, Volume, Variety, Velocity

The value of big data is derived from being able to capture and manage the data. Data can come from different sources and there are different aspects of it to deal with:

  • Volume: Records, transactions, multi-source queries
  • Variety : Channel, internal and external data, structured and unstructured data
  • Velocity: Real time, batch

There are multiple sources of data and they can be quantitative and structured, or qualitative and unstructured, such as in the case of social media. Here are some examples:

  • Social Media
  • Call Centre
  • Direct Mail
  • Online
  • Mobile ATM

How Do You Use Big Data?

Big data can enrich current reports or improve management. Known metrics can be updated on a given frequency, or businesses can allow exploratory analysis to create insight. Here’s the simple three-step process:

  1. Collate multi-source data
  2. Find trends and outliers
  3. Create test to validate discovery

The results can be fed into regular reports or used as the basis to take management action, or insight-driven action.  Think about the actions that enhance relationships with the client or customer… must they be the end result of information collected?

It All Goes Back To Manageability

The world is changing so quickly that what may be true this year, is no longer true a couple of years down the road. It is important to test and learn – consider data visualization. When it comes to testing the art of question creation is key. Clear questions allow you to ascertain customer needs as such it crucial to be clear on what you are trying to test, be it frequency, geography, channel, products or patterns. Specific exam questions are required to set up pragmatically achievable results.

While you can choose to work with big data inhouse or outsource it, both approaches comes with their own set of problems – when it comes to outsourcing, your vendor might not understand your business – it all goes back to manageability.

Working in the finance industry? Check out our webinar on Cross-Channel Banking presented by Forrester Research!

Cross Channel Banking Webinar