What is Data Mining?

If you are interested in a marketing career, you may have heard the term data mining, or data discovery. As a marketing professional, one of the most important tasks you will be responsible for is analyzing information collected from consumers and stored within internal databases, or warehouses. While this can be an overwhelming task for even the most experienced marketer, data discovery makes it much easier and less time-consuming.

Touch Points

Now, you may be wondering just exactly how a company collects valuable consumer information. Or more simply, how does information make its way to a business’ internal database or data warehouse? This is accomplished whenever a customer makes contact with a business. These interactions, known as touch points, can include any of the following activities.

  • Customer Purchases, Exchanges and Refunds
  • Contacts with Staff Members
  • Service Calls and Inquiries
  • Website and Social Site Visits
  • Visits to Company Blogs
  • Social Media Interactions
  • Satisfaction Surveys and Research Studies

Databases or Warehouses

As you can imagine, information collected pertaining to consumers is often scattered all over the different departments of a business. And as part of customer relationship management, it is the responsibility of marketing professionals to sort this information out and contain it within one easily accessible database or “warehouse.”

This is commonly done by using sophisticated customer relationship management tools offered by such large companies as Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com, and Statistical Analysis Systems. Once all of a company’s important consumer information is gathered together in one central location, it is much easier to locate specific information when it is needed.

Common Uses

There are many reasons why businesses may need to mine for customer data, and these reasons may vary from one occasion to another as well as from one business to another. A common use that many businesses use today is to personalize phone calls with regular customers to help make the experience more pleasant, convenient, and efficient.

Large grocery store chains and retail establishments often use data discovery in their customer loyalty programs to offer discounts to regular customers and encourage repeat sales. These are just two of the most common reasons businesses may need to mine for consumer data: You will find some other widespread uses listed below.

  • Adjusting Inventories as Necessary
  • Setting Prices and Rates for Products and Services
  • Creating or Adjusting Marketing Methods
  • Pinpointing Loyal Customers
  • Determining Best Locations for New Stores
  • Determining Best-Selling Products and Services
  • Cutting Costs or Increasing Revenues
  • Discovering Consumer Buying Patterns

To become a successful marketing professional today, you need to learn effective customer relationship management. While there are many aspects to effective CRM, perhaps the most important aspect is learning how to collect and mine for consumer data. Proper data mining offers many benefits to businesses, which may include increased revenues, decreased costs, and stronger relationships with customers.

Information Sources

*Anderson UCLA – http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/jason.frand/teacher/technologies/palace/datamining.htm

*Investopedia.com – http://www.investopedia.com/terms/d/datamining.asp

*Tech Target Network – http://searchsqlserver.techtarget.com/definition/data-mining