The times of collecting Big Data are gone as we are more and more entering the world of Smart Data. That’s the conclusion of the first event of the Smart Data Summit, held on January 29, 2015 in Munich.

Atmosphere at the Smart Data Summit in Munich
Atmosphere at the Smart Data Summit in Munich
Data is the new oil. This truism is prevalent in IT business and online marketing since a few years. Many retailers and brands are collecting data from their clients via their online shopping channels or their loyalty cards in brick and mortar stores, but only a few of them are already capable to transform all their information into beneficial knowledge about their customer and into marketing strategies. So the term big data is more and more replaced by thinking about smart data, which very much means asking precisely what kind of data is useful.

The problems of getting good data still exist. Working with different sources and tools in one company is always a challenge when it comes to bringing all data together in one analyze tool, which is very often the case at brands, which have to unify the information from all their retailers if they get the information at all. Especially pure players are using their advantage of having a uniform source of data by selling only via online stores.  But even those, so one of the topics of the summit, don’t use their information properly. “When I see brands are doing many many sale events on their online shop, I know, they are not using any kind of smart data management”, said Martin Meyer-Gossner from The Strategy Web GmbH. “Because otherwise they would know what exactly I like and how I’m buying”. It is crucial today, so the speakers said, to personalize newsletter contents and special offerings in order to get better feedback and better sales and – of course – not to annoy the customers. As an example, Tesco is sending out 5 Mio variations of newsletters to 13 Mio customers with data driven content. To personalize data also means: add information about the current weather or special events in town into your marketing campaign and react in real-time!

Ingrid Schutzmann, moderator, Internet World Business
Ingrid Schutzmann, moderator, Internet World Business
As an example for one of the most forward retailers with intelligent data management Macy’s in USA was mentioned. With their loyalty cards and their online shop, they are even able to collect personalized information about online and offline shopping habits from their customers. Especially bringing together online and offline in terms of collecting data, the IT business is still seeking solutions. Of course the iBeacon technology might be an option for the future. Another problem is the family desk top computer or tablet. If there are more persons using one device, collecting data and putting them into a personalized marketing approach is hard to achieve. But with modern real time analytic tools, even this problem can be solved.

Those, who are having the data, will have a big advantage in the future, which was one of the results of the summit. For those who start working with their data, the experts from the summit recommend starting with a Social Media Monitoring tool, which helps a lot getting more information about what people are thinking about the brand, which ones are potential ambassadors, what kind of service is necessary. It also can tell, in which regions or stores people are not satisfied. Another became clear: the Convenience Principle. People want to be personally "served", only then they will return again and again. But the challenge is: the balance between intrusiveness and restraint.

The next Smart Data Summit will be held on 7-8 December 2015 in Hamburg. The topic will also be part of the Internet World eCommerce fair from 24-25 March in Munich.