Use Big Data Trends to Make Marketing Decisions

I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again… Data can be a great resource for businesses. But statistics can often be misleading and even fabricated to prove a point or achieve a desired result. And like many, I remain somewhat skeptical when analyzing research data.

That being said, I often refer to statistics that are believed to be valid. I’ll even do it in this post. It helps give us insight into consumer trends that ultimately benefit our clients. But even if you are one of those who dismisses stats like the ones presented below, you can’t argue that overall trends don’t usually lie. Looking at big picture trends is important – not from one data source – but from many. The individual data can be inflated and misused and even confused at times, but trends don’t lie. And the trends we see now is that the average consumer is relying more heavily on social media and their mobile devices as resources/tools that influence and aid in their purchasing decisions. I’m sure we all know this to some degree, but it’s helpful to see some numbers attached with our assumptions. The fact is, we’re seeing that number grow exponentially (see below).

According to the second wave of the KN-CMR study, titled “The Faces of Social Media,” 38 million U.S. adults ages 18-80 (or 12% of the total population) say they discover new products and brands or refer to social media before making purchase decisions. That’s up 14% from 33.3 million just six months ago. This includes 23.1 million who say they discover new brands or products through social media, up 22% from 18.9 million in 2010, and 22.5 million who use social media to learn about unfamiliar brands or products, up 9% from 20.6 million last year.

What’s more, 17.8 million say social media has “strongly influenced” their purchase decisions, up 19% from 15 million in 2010, and 15.1 million say they make sure to refer to social media before making a purchase decision, up 29% from 11.7 million last year.

As might be expected, the KN-CMR study also shows a big increase in mobile social activity. Among teens and adults who use social media, the subset who have accessed social media via mobile devices soared from 28% to 40% of the total (meaning about 80 million this year). And there is significant overlap with consumer activity: within the mobile-social group, 27% use social media to compare or check prices, 24% refer to social media for reviews, and 16% use social media to find coupons, discounts, or special offers for local businesses.

– Stats taken from a Media Post article dated 06/16/2011 (


So what should you take away from this data?

It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, but I say take away the fact that consumers are progressively moving forward. And I mean that literally. New technologies are allowing society to be more mobile, which means we need to reach our customers on-the-go. And how will we reach them? Right now, we reach them by having mobile ready websites and mobile friendly marketing initiatives. Start interacting with customers through social media portals that they already use on their phones. It will build relationships crucial to your success. And don’t wait five years because your competition won’t. Use trends to make decisions now.