When the New York Times writes about nanotargeting, you could say it’s kind of a big deal. But just because nanotargeting has received some impressive press doesn’t mean that everyone knows what it does or how to use it effectively.

Many consumers know about nanotargeting from political campaigns or Facebook promotional ads, and as a result may have an unfavorable impression of the marketing practice. But nanotargeting can do so much more, especially since it thrives off of data. Know who has a lot of data? Companies, that’s who.

It’s not so much a question of what can big data do for nanotargeting, but rather what can companies do with nanotargeting so they can put their big data to use? We wondered the same and we turned to Lisa Arthur, Aprimo’s chief marketing officer to learn more.

Create a Data-Driven Dialogue

First and foremost, Arthur says “the key is to use big data to obtain actionable insights.” In other words, want to have better conversations with your customers, then let your data do the talking.

When Hallmark created a loyalty program, they handed over their customer data to the local stores and let them customize marketing messages accordingly. In return, local store participation increased by 25 times over a two-year period. Local promotions had up to a 250 percent lift over national mailings, and response rates were 27 percent higher on local promotions.

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Hallmark, an Aprimo customer, enables its stores to narrow down on big trends and personalize customer outreach by enabling them to build custom local marketing campaigns through a web-based portal.

Of course, most local stores don't mine big data the way larger companies do, which is why larger companies are finding it helpful to share data with their affiliates. What's good for the goose is often good for the gander. 

What's the Point of this Conversation?

The point of nanotargeting is to narrow in on big trends. Forget mass marketing, we're talking about one-to-one marketing. Your data can help speak to each customer as if they are the only one. Talk about a customized customer experience!

However, Arthur says that one of the biggest challenges companies face when it comes to putting big data to use is making sense of the conversation. What are you trying to achieve by speaking to your customer? Conversely, what is your customer trying to tell you? By mining your data effectively, the message becomes more concrete and less interpretive, more of a science than art. However, as you glean your intelligence for insights, use it to ask better questions for how it relates to your company goals. 

The Bottom Line is On and Off Line

Big data isn't going away. In fact it's only getting bigger. So why not use it to enhance your users' customer experience? And just because it's big data, doesn't mean you can't focus in on local markets and economies. Your national campaign may get more clickthroughs, but your local campaign will bring in more foot traffic, which can bring in big money. Use nanotargeting to drive actionable insights, online and off!