Insights into what consumers buy, how they buy and where they buy

Updated: April 11, 2011

After all, there are many ways that a major organization can reach the millions of consumers at once. It can place promotional flyers in newspapers, run mass advertising or send text messages to the mobile phone users. But actually connecting with customers in a way that makes each person feel she or he is the only one with whom a faceless marketer is talking? That takes numbers — and analytics. Specifically, it requires the highly detailed data gathered through a consumer's purchasing information: insights that reveal what they buy, how they buy and where they buy.

In short, such data and analysis are necessary to build loyal customer relationships. The key is identifying and gathering the best information to meet an organization's needs — especially in a market like India, where large companies are competing with countless mom-and-pop businesses that command nearly 95 percent of purchases and are privy to extremely personal information about their customers. India's rapidly expanding spending power will continue no matter what — but it is up to savvy marketers to leap frog ahead, set up the ability to capture consumer knowledge and then use it to connect with them.

Such momentous use of data is expressed daily among some of the world's largest corporations, often through the use of loyalty programs that reward members for their continued business. The hotel chain Hilton, for instance, uses membership data collected through its HHonors loyalty programme to customize offers that respond to the vacation aspirations of individual members — whether that is a get-away trip to Thailand or an excursion to see extended family in the United States.

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