Bookings Systems and The Business Benefits of Big Data
One of the problems with the rapid evolution of technology is the almost incessant development of new terms and phrases. Software as a Solution, Internet of Things, Bounce Rates, SEO, Application Programming Interface.
And, Big Data.
It’s a term you may have heard, it may be something of which you’re entirely aware. Then again, maybe it’s a term that has, thus far, completely passed you by.
Nevertheless, Big Data is a Big Deal. And Big Business.
Data has always had a high value when it comes to sales and marketing strategists trying to get an edge. But never before has the demand for it been so great.
Because never before in human history has there been such a tsunami like flow of data into the public (or semi-public) domain.
More data has been created in the last five years, than in the entire prior history of the human race*.
Of course, when you think about it, it’s not really a surprise, given the amount of information that passes through the myriad of digital, social, and transactional channels.
There’s the structured data that may be captured from a whole raft of different sources, from enquiry forms, emails, online sign-ups, free WiFi, or even the swapping of business cards at that networking event you attended.
And then there’s the unstructured data that’s continuously flowing. The comments on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, for example. Nuggets of personal information that have little value in themselves, but pieced together can form an unerringly accurate understanding of an individuals’ likes, dislikes, needs and habits.
In particular, buying habits.
Little wonder that the Big Data industry is estimated to exceed $200m by 2020.
What’s the Big Deal with Data?
OK, so there’s a lot of data about. So what?
Well, that really depends on what you do in terms of data capture, analysis, and application. Ultimately, it comes down to the way in which you first gather information on your customers and potential customers, and then use that information to better understand what they’re looking for, and how you can tailor your proposition.
The internet has made markets a lot more crowded, with many a business having to find new ways to stand out from the crowd, connect with their customers and generate new, ideally toastie warm, leads.
What big data delivers, when correctly gathered and applied, is the opportunity to get a competitive edge on the competition. Using information, gaining insight into your customers, and focusing your marketing strategies. The data gleaned from your enquiry forms, your interactions with clients and prospects, and the data shared through public comments on social platforms, can unearth trends and habits that can shape the products you sell, and the markets you wish to sell into.
Data from Booking Systems
Now Big Data is a somewhat Big term. A kind of catch all term for the enormous flow of information and the way in which it is captured and used. But how does this apply to the data that can be gleaned from your booking system?
We’ve long held the view that your booking system can, and indeed should, serve as a primary point of data capture. After all, it’s a touchpoint between you and your client, in which they have volunteered information about themselves.
Information that has a value, and certainly deserves more than a quick jot onto a notepad, as you cradle a phone at your neck.
Whether online or over the phone, you need to be capturing the data of those who want to book your products and services.
Whether taking bookings for a venue, training course, activity, event, capturing the data from the transaction, and even the dialogue around the transaction has enormous value to your future sales and marketing activity.
Think of what you can learn from the information you are being provided:
- Name of the customer & potentially anyone else on behalf of whom they’re booking
- Email address and other contact information that can be used to direct target future campaigns
- The type of product they purchased (e.g. did they book their child onto a football course at U10? Well, they’ll be looking for early notice of the U11s camps next year, won’t they?)
- Dates of birth – when to send a happy birthday message, or offer a little discount code, perhaps?
- Full booking history.
- Conversations, emails, or other communication you may have had which can unearth different nuggets of info.
Of course, you need to be mindful of ensuring that data is securely stored, and used in an ethical way, a reason to adopt a booking system with a robust CRM database, but appropriately applied, the data you gather can allow you to laser target your offering, ensuring that you are pitching the right products, at the right prices, to the right people in your next marketing campaign.
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