All signs suggest that the new frontier of marketing is data mining, which is a cross-discipline practice that involve collecting user data from social media archives and other sources. This data can be used by marketing firms in order to get more accurate, empirical information about trends so you can customize campaigns more effectively. The advantage of data mining is having an edge on competitors, the disadvantage is the additional dent in your budget that will come with allocating the proper resources towards this challenging new strategy.
Whether you’re compiling profiles on consumer reactions to vending machines or environmentally safe cleaning detergent, data mining can offer a unique approach to both marketing and advertising. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to eviscerate your budget in order to tap into its strength. There is such a thing as ‘Do-It-Yourself’ (DIY) data mining. A creative marketer should know how to use social media in order to construct compelling consumer profiles, which can be utilized in multiple campaigns across multiple demographics. Creating a Facebook fan page and gauging the metrics of ‘likes’, comments, and shares is just the beginning. So too is wielding Twitter as a meme-tester, or a way to glean which trends are flourishing and which trends are waning.
A truly creative marketer will embed him/herself into various social media forums, niche or no, in order to understand consumer trends. Etsy.com, for example, is a social media site for craft-makers who create DIY jewelery, clothes and other crafts. The fact that it’s DIY is incidental; Etsy is a treasure trove of taste and preference information. Similarly, Deviant Art, Pinterest, and any number of online communities can be ‘mined’, so to speak, for information.
Is this predatory? Well, perhaps. But since when did the online world have any sort of grassroots purity that was distinct from corporate interest. Marketers of the future will have to forgo whatever compunction they may have toward collecting personal (though not ‘private’) information through publicly available means. This not hacking into organic communities and plundering their creative reserves, it’s leveraging transparent data in order to create more accurate and focused marketing pitches.
Whatever marketing strategies you employ, the future will be a place of online information gathering. More people are reporting their likes, dislikes, and preferences online than ever before and the success of many marketing campaigns will depend on the ability to interpret this information in a meaningful way. DIY data mining offers a significant method towards this end.