Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why Fan Data Matters

Science Meter image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
It's difficult to read a tech-related story these days without a reference to user data, meta data or the latest "Big Data" (large data sets controlled by mostly large companies), but there are a number of good reasons why this has become a major concern for businesses, and artists and bands, everywhere.

Even politics. You're going to see your user data in action in the upcoming presidential election in a major fashion because, in fact, it's been in use by political campaigns since 2004 as a major way to get out the vote and add donors. And it works. In the private sector, more and more companies and non-profits are taking that data seriously and so should you. Here's why.

The future of marketing is micro-targeting.

The more you know about your fans, the easier it will be to send them only the information that they care about. Why inform a fan in St. Louis that you're doing a gig in Boston? There might be a time that you'd make that information available, but a few days before the show, you just want to concentrate locally, and micro-targeting allows you to do that. What if you have a piece of merch that's aimed at your female fans in cold weather territories? Do you think the dudes care much about it? Do you think you female fans in Florida and Texas care much about it? Micro-targeting allows you to adjust your campaign accordingly.

And it makes measurement easier too. With a more precise user sample, it's much easier to tell if and how a campaign is actually working. If you shotgun a post to 3000 fans and 15 respond, it looks like only .5% responded, but if that same campaign was more precisely aimed at only 30 of those fans and you found that 12 responded, that's a whopping 40%. In the first example with a .5% response, you'd think that your campaign had a serious flaw in it. In the more targeted second example, we can see that the same campaign worked smashingly well. It all depends on targeting the right fans in the first place.

The old advertising days of "50% of advertising works. We just don't know which 50%," may soon be over, thanks to micro-targeting and better measurement techniques. In upcoming posts I'll discuss which data is the most important, and techniques on how to collect it, so you can start micro-targeting right now.

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