Marketers know they need to build campaigns around the ever-growing amount of customer information at their fingertips. But there’s more data than what they’re capturing from email opt-ins and online browsing history. Open data, which is freely available for anyone to use, is a trove of information that — if used correctly — adds even more brand value.
If Big Data is about making organizations smarter, open data involves increasing revenue and business value, according to Gartner analysts. “More commercial organizations are using open data to get closer to customers, share costs with partners and generate revenue by monetizing information assets,” David Newman, research vice president at Gartner, said in a press release.
The business case for open data
Governments often tout the benefits of open data policies. The city of Chicago, for instance, offers a data portal where anyone can access more than 600 up-to-date datasets about anything from transportation and traffic to social services. The accessibility of data has spawned new businesses and enhanced existing ones that use the information to better target customers. When people mine the city’s data, they’re also more likely to make improvements to what they see, adding value back to the city’s services.
Companies also have much to gain with increased transparency. According to the Gartner report “Open for Business: Learn to Profit by Open Data,” corporate open data strategies uncover new types of customers and partners to access, and they enable finer-grained access to data sources and new types of service bundling. It’s a two-way street: marketers can gain insights from opening up their own data, and they can also take advantage of public information that’s available elsewhere.
Here’s how four companies are creating value from data transparency:
1. Pandora- The world’s largest Internet radio service recently granted musicians free access to its data about their biggest fans. The more than 125,000 artists on the site now can view detailed information about their songs' popularity, audience age and gender information, and a map of where their fans live. Pandora says that information will help bands better plan their tours and set lists. In turn, those artists may better target fans and draw them back to the radio service.
2. Twitter- Many businesses rely on Twitter’s data and APIs for customer insights. Hedge funds use the social media site to guide trading decisions, for instance. This year Twitter launched a data-licensing tool that will sell access to its data to companies that can use the information to help them with their own businesses. One company is tracking mentions of soggy fries to determine which locations aren't properly maintaining fryers, for example.
2. Red Roof Inn- Marketers for the hotel chain took advantage of open data about weather conditions, flight cancellations and customers’ locations to offer last-minute hotel deals to stranded travelers. They used the information to develop an algorithm that considered various travel conditions to determine the opportune time to message customers about nearby hotel availability and rates.
3. Phillips- Healthcare technology company Phillips is developing an open, cloud-based platform that gives clinicians better access to patient data and grants patients access to information that helps them better manage their own health. The open platform will host data from electronic medical records, diagnostic and treatment information obtained through Philips’ imaging equipment, monitoring equipment, and personal devices and technologies. Intended to be open to developers, the platform aims to produce a vibrant ecosystem of partners creating applications, according to Phillips.
By sharing data and building off of freely available information, marketers will uncover new ways to demonstrate value to their audiences and create business opportunities and revenue streams.
For more insights on how to leverage information in ways more helpful to your customers and to your marketing initiatives, download the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Data Management.