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Blockchain technology is making waves. By now, most of us will have heard of it one way or another, but most of us aren’t exactly clear on what it is or how it works, let alone why it’s having the impact that it’s having. Blockchain technology isn’t as complicated as it seems, but it’s new, and it’s different, challenging the way we have previously thought about data storage and distribution. 

Before we can implement its benefits, we need to fully understand what blockchain is all about, how it works, and how we can use it to our advantage.

What is Blockchain?

On the face of it, blockchain seems a lot more complicated than it actually is. In fact, the blockchain concept is quite simply an enormous database of sorts. Blockchain, also referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and is unique in that it creates a history of any digital asset unalterable and transparent through the use of decentralization and cryptographic hashing.  

To get the best picture, it’s key to understand what a database actually is. Many of us know what a database is, but it’s one of those terms we take for granted, so here’s an excuse to get better acquainted with a database.

Understanding Databases

A database is a collection of information – data – that is stored electronically. The information in databases is normally structured in a table format to allow for easy filtering and searching, thus providing a clearer overview of the data as needed. 

How does that differ from, say, me using an Excel spreadsheet to organize something? Spreadsheets, like you, would use for a basic budget or plan, for example, tend to be designed for use by at most a small group of people. This makes them useful for collecting, storing, and using data gathered by departmental teams or individuals. 

On the other hand, a database deals with significantly larger data sets, dealing with massive loads of information. This is one of the reasons they’re often housed on specific servers built on powerful computers – it takes a lot of space and power to access, filter, and use the data contained in these databases.

Understanding Blockchain

Now, what’s up with blockchain? How is it different from a regular database? 

The key difference is in the way blockchain databases store their data. A blockchain’s data is stored together in groups – also called ‘blocks’. Each block has a certain capacity limit and when they’re full, they then link to another block and form a chain of data, thus the name ‘blockchain’. 

Unlike the database, where data is stored in tables, blockchain structures its data in blocks – this means that all blockchains are databases but not all databases are blockchains if that makes sense. The way that blockchains are structured also means that there’s a clear and irreversible timeline of when the data comes in – when a block is filled, it is ‘set in stone’ and is locked into this timeline, complete with a timestamp. This makes it incredibly easy to track the data’s journey and keeps the data unadulterated and secure. 

If you’re looking for an easy way to picture how blockchain works, think of a Google Doc. When it’s created and its shared with a group of people, the document is shared – distributed – instead of copied. This creates a decentralized distribution chain that gives everyone access to the Google Doc simultaneously – no one is locked out while waiting for changes, but all document modifications are being recorded and can be tracked and traced. This is very simplistic analogy, of course, but it’s a good place to get started. 

How is Blockchain Used?

Blockchain technology can be used for a variety of purposes, from providing financial services to administering voting systems, but to give you a basic idea:

  • Cryptocurrency
  • Banking
  • Asset Transfers
  • Smart Contracts
  • Supply Chain Monitoring
  • Voting

What’s the connection between Blockchain and Digital Marketing?

Blockchain is relatively new, but it’s already making a big impact on digital marketing. Most people who have heard of blockchain may associate it primarily with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. For digital marketing, it provides transparency, security, and accessibility of monetary and data flows. It can benefit not only the business, but the consumer as well – allowing for improved monetary outflow for businesses on digital campaigns, and direct ownership of data. 

Data is what drives the markets, a new currency, if you will, that fuels businesses with information and insight into consumer behaviour. 

The Impact of Data-Privacy Awareness

Since the increased awareness about data privacy and the scandals that sprung out of previously relaxed attitudes, restrictions and regulations on data storage, use, and sharing have become stricter.  It’s no surprise, therefore, that we are now seeing the exodus of third-party cookies and the IOS 14.5 update. The further we go down this path, the more innovative digital marketers have had to become. 

Blockchain technology potentially gives control back to data owners targeting digital advertising. This creates a direct data exchange between consumers and brands, resulting in better transparency and improved trust. 

How can Blockchain benefit Digital?

1. Improves Digital Marketing & Advertising Campaigns

Due to blockchain’s ability to link merchants directly with marketers and providing transparent data insights, eliminating the need for a liaison. Data from digital advertising can be difficult to interpret – and can sometimes be inaccurate – making improvement difficult. Being more in touch with campaign data is one of the advantages of blockchain – monitoring campaigns in real-time is achievable with blockchain. This is one of the reasons why we’re seeing big brand names like Unilever applying blockchain to improve their digital advertising efficiently. 

2. Boosts Transparency

In digital advertising, it can be tricky to know if the metrics you gain are actual people or bots that are skewing your results. Research is now showing that bots have cost companies more than 7billion USD in 2016. With blockchain, there is a clear, transparent chain, encrypted within the digital ledger system. As a result, the transparency is inviolable for every piece of data moving through the data flow chain. This will save organizations a lot of money by making sure that their ads are actually reaching their targeted audience, thus assuring that companies are getting what they paid for. 

3. Generates Trust & Credibility

Businesses prefer blockchain because it enhances the security of data and information, providing increased protection. Similarly, shared data is more easily verified and tracked, allowing for an increase in trust between parties. Small businesses, in particular, is finding it incredibly useful to use blockchain to build trust because it allows them to prove where their products are coming from and forge a willingness to be open with their customers. 

4. Prevents Fraud

Blockchain can be used to authorize and record authenticated digital outlets, thus preventing any fraudulent access. With the increased transparency and tracking ability, it’s easy to ensure that only those who should have access are allowed in. It’s one of the reasons why brands like Toyota have been using blockchain specifically for this purpose, and are seeing a 21% improvement in website visitor traffic already.

5. Improves Content Monetization

As we’ve said many times before, content is at the heart of digital marketing, and a solid content marketing strategy is vital to promoting products and services. Through blockchain, consumers, bloggers, and streamers can be rewarded directly rather than through third-party content platforms

Future Outlook of Blockchain

Blockchain is already making a big impact, but what is clear is that it is slowly and steadily changing the digital world. There is a shift of power, digital privacy and data protection awareness is driving a change, and blockchain is part of this change. 

Some reports estimate that blockchain solutions will grow from 1.5 billion (2016) to nearly 16 billion in 2023. Every industry can see a use and a benefit in blockchain technology; the financial sector alone has already shown a 60% growth in 2018. 

Wrapping Up

Blockchain is a fascinating new technology that is changing the way we store and work with data. It is going to keep making waves and impact the digital scene for years to come, and it’s important that we stay on top of the changes it creates in its wake and the opportunity it presents.

If you’re keen to find out how you can use blockchain technology to benefit your business, you can always get in touch with us. We stand ready to help you navigate the changes and the opportunities and make sure your business excels. 

Ever since man began selling his wares, the art of persuasion was never far behind. Marketing has always been at the heart of commerce, but it was in the Industrial Revolution where things really took off. The introduction of mass production heralded the need for more sophisticated methods to inform consumers about the new products being created. Thus the birth of the modern marketing tactics.

In the 1940s, competition amongst businesses started to intensify. Marketing suddenly became more sophisticated in a sense that various brands started dabbling with the idea of building customer relationships. To some extent, the bigger brands managed to foster some bond with their consumer, while the others that didn’t, typically failed and died. The race to build customer relationships was on.

Image by Azqoutes

The majority of marketing techniques used back then were based on pure instinct. This does not always yield the best results, because of this, businesses who could afford to buy and analyse data began using it. Suddenly, companies started targeting their customers with better precision and accuracy. Bigger brands were using these data not just to improve their overall marketing strategies but to strengthen their logistic operations as well.

Data quickly became a valuable commodity with multinational companies and companies solely offering data services were born. These companies help marketers see the complete process of events that leads a customer to purchase what you are selling and why they love your brand.

Data-driven Marketing By The Numbers

If you haven’t been implementing data into your marketing, then you are coming in a bit late to the party. According to CMO, over 78 percent of today’s marketers are using data when it comes to executing their marketing strategies. Furthermore, Media Math reported that 63 percent of marketers are spending more on data-driven marketing over the last year, with an additional 10 percent expecting to increase it even more.

But if you have started employing data-driven marketing tactics for your company, then good for you. In a recent survey by Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Winterberry Group, 40.9 percent of marketing professionals have reported a growth in revenue from data-driven marketing related efforts.

 

However, in the graph above, you will see that there is still a huge chunk of marketers that experiences no change in revenues. That means as a marketer, you should never be complacent with your marketing efforts to avoid being in a revenue slump.

6 Ways To Drive Your Company Using Data

Let’s take a look on how you can push your data-driven marketing efforts even further and finally hit the revenue you want.

1. Rethink Your Customer’s Journey

As marketing channels become bigger and mixed, data suddenly plays a significant role in making sure that the customer experience is as seamless as possible. A lot of times, someone goes into a department store and looks at their mobile device to learn more about a product on the shelf. The customer will then have the option to buy it right there or go home and purchase it online.

According to Marketo, 65 percent of consumers start on a mobile phone and out of those, 61 percent then continue their journey on a laptop. But that is not the entire picture when it comes to customer journey.

Algorithmic attribution is a model marketers can use to excellently measure the success of each point of the customer’s journey when purchasing a product. This is becoming increasingly important, especially in today’s world where customers jump from one device to another before buying something.

This attribution provides the marketer with a better insight on which stage in a customer’s journey is the most critical and which channel and content work best. This data can then serve as a basis for the company’s investment decisions

2. Use Data To Connect To All Your Customers

With the fierce competition, most companies experience today, relying on the general demographics to create your buyer persona is no longer sufficient. Creating content that will appeal to your customer and give you that coveted ROI is much more challenging.

Your customers are different individuals and have varying likes and dislikes. Marketers of today need to cast a wider net in creating content that is more personalised and fit their customers’ needs and wants.

Take Arby’s for example; they succeeded in using data to figure out what type of message and channel works well for their customers. They knew (with data, of course) that their customers use TV and Twitter connectively to watch the Grammy’s.

Arby’s social media director tuned in to watch the show too and waited for opportunities to engage himself in the conversation real-time. Check out the tweet below:

The Twitter world loved it and re-tweeted it 77,000 times. This an exquisite example of how you can use data to create content that will connect with your audience.

 

3. Email Provides Great ROIs

By 2020, there will be 3 billion email users worldwide, which is significantly more than the 2.6 billion users in 2016. Given that data, it is not such a bad idea to push this powerful marketing channel even further.

According to WordStream, email marketing is the most-used digital channel and Facebook, with its almost 2 billion monthly active users, can make email marketing even better. And here is where we’ll talk about Facebook Custom Audiences.

Posting something on Facebook alone is not enough and might not give you the results you want. Facebook Custom Audiences is where you can use email addresses and create a custom audience for your company. Facebook will then use the emails you’ve listed and match it with actual Facebook users. Just define your audience, and you now have the power to reach the people that matter to you.

See: Mailing List 101: Your Guide To Building A Mailing List

 

4. Measure, Test And Adjust Your Marketing Efforts Using Data

Think about this; you may have a great video paid ad running on one of those popular news sites. Your sales are up so without looking at your data you figure that the ad may have something to do with it. But after a while, you decide to check the data, and you find out that you are not hitting your target market with the ad.  Your sales increase was due to something else, and in this case, it was not the video ad.

By measuring your marketing efforts, not only will you know which one works, but you will also eliminate any need for guesswork. This is the beauty when your marketing relies on data, the need for any “gut-feel” type of marketing approach is considerably lessened, and everything can be backed up by data.

Once you know what works, you can allocate more resources to that channel, test it out, and gather more data. Through constant measuring and testing, you can continuously mould a personalised and highly immersive customer experience that cultivates a long term and profitable relationship with your target audience.

 

5. Integrate Your Online Platforms With Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of those must-haves if you want to acquire some useful data in your online marketing. If you have a WordPress site, you can easily add Google Analytics via this plugin. This will enable you to find out how visitors search for and use your website and it also uses universal tracking, which lets you track users across devices and platforms. Another nifty feature is page analytics, which helps you figure out which pages and sections of your website are getting more attention. All this information is in real time, so you can react and adapt quickly to different trends.

However, before going into any of that, you need to set up your account through Google Analytics. It will only take about three steps, and you are ready to go. You can also create multiple accounts if you have more than one website. A good tip would be to use services like Cyfe to efficiently manage your website.  This service allows you to monitor multiple websites and best of all – you can integrate it with Google Analytics for a more convenient way to track multiple data from various websites.

Once you have Google Analytics integrated with your website, you will be able to track or collect useful information like audience demographics, interests, location, language, and site visits.

As mentioned above, Google Analytics can also help you learn about the behaviour of your visitors. Lastly, Google Analytics can give you data regarding how many conversions your website has received and the path your visitor undertook to finish that conversion (i.e. how many landed on your website via your Facebook page.

 

6. Learn How To Automate

Marketing automation is one of the hottest buzzwords in the industry today. This is a software that helps put your marketing and sales engagements on autopilot. By doing the heavy lifting of sending out bulks of email and helping you prioritise your leads, marketing automation helps you generate more leads, close more deals, and effectively measure your marketing success.

A marketing automation software can send out thousands of emails automatically to your clients on a regular basis using a time that is set by you. The software can also determine which of your leads are ready to be engaged and which of them need a bit more time. This is done by the software recognising which of those possible leads are engaging your marketing efforts more.

Data is at the heart of this software – Marketing automation can also give you information on how successful your marketing campaigns are and where the leads are coming from. Without the need to do the heavy lifting of sending out emails and guessing which leads to pursue, the sales team could focus on closing deals with the hottest leads.

How efficient is marketing automation when it comes to determining the hottest leads? Simply put, the software can tell you when your lead is browsing your website in real time and will inform you through email that this will be the perfect time to call.

Marketing Automation software helps maximise the efficiency of your marketing and sales team. If you really want to have a data-driven company, getting a marketing automation software might just be your best bet.

Data Is The Future Of Marketing

There is very little doubt that cultivating a data-driven company is the future and the battle for the hearts of the consumer is bound to intensify in the years to come. It will still be up to the marketer to interpret information and turn it into a sound and effective strategy.

Data-driven marketing, however, is going to make marketers’ lives so much easier. It helps them focus on what really matters and create stronger bonds with customers that continuously evolves in the future.

Do you have any experiences regarding data-driven marketing? Let us discuss it in the comments section below – we would really love to hear your thoughts!

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