The gold rush of the new millennia is aimed at mining data, not precious metals. And those doing the mining are not schlepping along on a burro. They’re tapped into the Internet through sophisticated information collection and sharing mechanisms.
And while consumers are beginning to feel uneasy about the unprecedented volumes of information being gathered and stored regarding their buying habits, Thorold entrepreneur and marketing expert Jim Kalogerakos says it's a two-way street.
Consumers are now able to customize their online experiences. They can choose news feeds that are relevant to them, watch videos, movies and TV fine-tuned to their preferences. And they receive advertisements, offers and coupons that feature products in which they are interested.
It's the latter trend that has some consumers nervous what is known about them.
"There is no doubt that 2019 is going to be the year of the uproar," Kalogerakos said in interview with ThoroldNews. "Consumers will be up in arms about their privacy and breaches of privacy."
"New privacy laws are coming into place which will govern marketers, credit card companies, banks, and anybody who has customer records. It will have to be clear to consumers what they are consenting to," he said.
"And," he cautioned, "consumers need to read carefully the agreements they sign to understand just what they are consenting to. Too often, they check that box that says 'I agree,' without reading the fine print."
Kalogerakos is the owner of STAT Analytics and diD Analytics. The Niagara firm is aimed at exporting big data technology and knowledge.
He says that the Fortune 500 companies have access to data providers like Claritas, but small to medium businesses need access to similar services and information.
"I have identified an emerging need and opportunity to use big data to help organizations make informed business decisions and improve profitability," he explained.
"Every business has a customer base but not all customers are profitable. The Pareto principle says 20 per cent of your customers provide 80 per cent of your revenue. Wouldn't it be nice to know who that 20 per cent are?" he asked.
"Knowing who they are as intimately as possible, without breaching their privacy, is very valuable because now you can do meaningful product development and promotions directed at them. Your communications mean something to them at a personal level," Kalogerakos stated.
Formerly a principal with 180 Marketing, Kalogerakos is now focusing decades of experience and technological expertise on his new enterprise. His reputation has earned him frequent invitations to present at conferences and workshops.
There are two sides to the business. Operating under the title diD Analytics, he provides consulting to medium and small-sized businesses and non-profit organizations.
"We educate them on the existence of available data and how to use it," Kalogerakos said.
Recent clients include: Niagara's bid for the 2021 Canada Summer Games, White Oaks Resort, the MS Society of Alberta and the city of Leduc, AB.
And the second side of the business, STAT Analytics, is a software development concern.
"We build desktop, mobile and cloud-based applications that aggregates big data from multiple sources," he said.
His key focus right now is an App called Closemore, which is scheduled for release this year.
"The App takes that aggregate data, distills and delivers it to end-user businesses in a format that is usable and actionable in real time," he explained. "As it is used more, it will begin to make intelligent recommendations, provide insights and eliminate thousands of hours of work, guessing and ineffective decisions."
Kalogerakos explained that currently the App is being targeted for U.S. car dealerships. Future customers would include insurance companies, tourist agencies, real estate firms and many others.
"We are targeting industries that have a high concentration of customer lists and at least $1 billion a year in revenue. They will have a large number of sales staff," he said. "The App is specifically for the sales staff."
"Essentially, what it does is provide a point on the ground," Kalogerakos explained. "A (driver's) licence scanned will provide an address."
"Every household is coded into one of 68 socio-economic segments based on over 300 variables. Once identified in a particular segment, thousands of bits of data can be attached to that household by reaching out to other databases. It aggregates data and develops a profile."
Kalogerakos explained that an address in a particular neighbourhood can provide a description of the average resident.
"For example, it might give the sales person a summary of average income and net worth in the neighbourhood; whether they are likely to have kids at home. It may indicate they work in management professional occupations and are college graduates. It can identify the top motivators for that demographic for buying a vehicle. It will then provide the salespeople talking points on what's relevant to them."
"It's not personal," he stressed; "It's about the neighbourhood. It's unethical to attach the data to an individual and that's what I meant by being privacy-compliant."
For the business, a wealth of information becomes available. "Once you identify your customers, you can find look-alike audiences and identify similar behaviours, lifestyles and buying habits. You focus on the 20 per cent and grow that into an even larger portion of your customer base."
And this results in more efficient and cost-effective marketing plans.
"You save 90 per cent of your print and direct mail costs because you know who your customers are. Your creative staff can speak directly to them. And it's more relevant and meaningful communication to customers," he argued.
He added, "A salesperson can develop a 360-degree view of the customer in front of him. There is no time for individuals to do that kind of research. It gives him meaningful talking points and what he needs that day."
For more information visit http://www.didanalytics.com/