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Enriching CRM initiatives with big data

As companies strive for a 360-degree view of their customers, mastering big data can help make sense of consumer interactions.

Big data involves high volumes and a rapid velocity of data streaming into companies from various data formats. Such data presents opportunities to better understand customers and products, but also challenges. How are companies using big data to improve customer relationship management?

When it comes to more customer-oriented activities, you think about domains such as sales, multichannel marketing, customer services, call centers -- all of which can benefit from having what's been called a 360-degree view of customers and the organization's interactions with customers and their activities. This view has been a long-standing goal in the industry -- it's been touted by software marketers for decades in some cases -- but big data technologies are helping to bring it to fruition by making it much more cost-effective and just easier to integrate disparate types of data across different system silos.

Another important challenge with big data for customer-related activities right now is proximity-related shopping: taking things like beacon technology and other location tracking technology and using those in conjunction with customer profiles to identify and make offers to customers, sometimes in real time, at their specific locations.

Proximity-related shopping is something that turns into a really big data challenge in the sense that you don't want to inundate customers or annoy them with what they might consider "special offer" or "alert" spam, especially on their mobile devices. There's huge promise in it, however, and in basically doing the mass customization that has been talked about for a couple decades but can now be brought to fruition by big data.

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