The Social Download: How Analytic Insight Helps Mid-Size Retailers and Suppliers

Sep 12, 2012

By Ed Abrams (left), IBM VP of Global Midmarket Business, & Jay Hakami (right), President and CEO of Sky IT Mid-Size retailers and suppliers are in the midst of evolving the way they are serving the individual consumer. Every Facebook "like", Twitter follower and blog comment otherwise known as Big Data can provide marketing executives with valuable customer insights. However, data-driven marketing, which is still in its infancy, is an incredibly complicated IT challenge, with industries such as retail setting the pace. Big Data tapped the right way can results in big business for smaller retailers as they learn more about their consumers at an individual and market them at a personal level.

As the convergence between marketing and technology is becoming more prominent, Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) are starting to look for ways to get a better handle on their situation and to streamline their technology needs. Conversely, more CIOs are looking for ways to guide and assist CMOs as marketing continues to evolve.

With the new demands Big Data is placing on CMOs, many understand that technology is the factor that fuels their success and many are quickly capturing this growing opportunity.

So how can a CMO justify the investment in social media?

Retailers, especially smaller ones, need to keep costs down to remain profitable. Maintaining a social presence means investing in or reallocating precious resources. While some retailers have a strategic marketing plan that includes analytic tools, smaller businesses are taking a bit more time when it comes to adopting these advanced capabilities simply because they want to be sure they will see an immediate return on their investment -- and be able to justify it quickly.

CIOs can assist CMO's in measuring the success of their social media efforts by using data analytics tools. In addition, savvy CIOs are turning to a local technology provider who can provide the tools and industry expertise to help data-driven CMOs deliver business results and meaningful ROI.

With social media analytics, smaller retailers can calculate the ROI and assess the effectiveness of their social media campaigns by tracking both the actions of consumers and the influence of their top commenters and re-tweeters providing a level of insight on the individual never seen before. This information allows retailers to measure their social media programs against their other marketing initiatives, allowing them to make informed business decisions on how to best leverage their online presence.

Retailers and suppliers to the retail industry such as Theory, Eileen Fisher, Prada, Chaus USA, John Varvatos, G-III Apparel Group, Adrianna Papell, Giorgio Armani, Yankee Candle and a host of others are using SKYPAD, a cloud based analytical tool that allows CMOs, merchandisers, planners and sales executive to view how their products are performing at the retail level. They are able to view and analyze up-to-date consumer sales and trends based on any combination of; product attributes, time dimension and geographic location. This insight allows them to better serve their consumer needs as well as, to ensure that they have the right product at the right time at the right place and therefore increase the ROI.

As CMOs have become more accountable for driving long-term growth, opportunities are emerging for CMOs and CIOs to collaborate in new ways and transform their organizations to drive business growth and stay ahead of the competition.

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