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Here’s a tip: When it comes to marketing your business, leave your “gut” out of it.

No matter how good your intuition, how prestigious of a business school you attended or how much marketing know-how you seemingly possess, if you think you can make marketing decisions by “trusting your gut” alone, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Things have changed. We don’t count on old wives tales to predict the weather, and business people don’t make marketing decisions on a hunch. Well, at least the smart ones don’t.

There is mounds of information about your business just waiting to be mined and analyzed. Information that can help you drive more powerful, effective marketing campaigns. What are you waiting for?

You’re doing yourself a disservice not to mine the glut of information you already have on your customers and use it to power your marketing solutions. Your “gut” can be wrong, but numbers never lie.

Don’t believe all the big data hype? Take a look at how two very different companies use big data to give their brands a big, information-driven boost.

Companies Using Big Data the Right Way

Domino’s Used Data to Heat Up Its Marketing

Domino’s Pizza is one of the top performing pizza chains in the country, but back in 2008, things were starting to look stale for the company. It had lost a significant amount of market share and sales were slipping. Rather than fall back on worn-out strategies, Domino’s made a conscious decision not to make marketing decisions on a hunch anymore and embraced big data.

Rather than push marketing messages they thought might work, Domino’s started to listen to its audience. The company used Splunk Enterprise marketing technology to monitor real-time sales around the world, allowing it to target customers in real time with promotions and unique campaigns.

If a local sports team was about to play a game, it could provide a unique offer to their fans, or if the weather got warmer, it could offer discount coupons on drinks rather than pizza.

Leveraging that data and leaving the hunch-marketing behind paid off for Domino’s. It's been able to face its problems head on and, as a result, sales have shot back up. It is now only second to Pizza Hut in pizza chain sales. It now considers itself “a data and technology company that just happens to make pizza.”

Domino’s took chance out of their marketing and, as it turned out, took the simplest, most sensible approach. 

Paychex Got the Job Done with Big Data

Paychex, a payroll and human resources service provider, was founded in 1971, long before anybody knew what big data was. Back then, and for the following few decades, the company got by on referrals and didn’t have to do much when it came to lead and demand generation. That changed when the recession hit in 2008 and growth took a downturn.

Paychex saw the writing on the wall and made a conscious decision to make big data a priority. It started to incorporate data mining and marketing analytics into its strategies, using sophisticated tools to gather and make sense of all of this valuable marketing intelligence, and then used it to make smarter, more focused marketing decisions.

For example, they looked at the types of companies that had purchased an additional offering from Paychex, like a 401(k) plan in addition to their regular payroll services. By studying the attributes of the existing 401(k) plan customers, they were able to find “look-alike” companies, and target their 401(k) offering to them, which reduced the cost of sales and increased its revenues.

As a result, Paychex has achieved results beyond what the company could have gained through intuition alone.

Take the Risk Out of Your Marketing

Pizza and payroll: Domino’s and Paychex couldn’t offer more dissimilar products and services. But both were able to turn themselves around by leveraging big data.

Whatever your business -- whether you’re a tech company, a real estate firm or a retail shoe store -- you can use big data to drive your marketing solutions.

What will set you apart from your competitors is your willingness to use the information you have right in front of you. It’s up to your company to ask the right questions and to gather the right data. The results, as you can see, can be tremendous.

Your “gut” might have gotten you this far, but it’s nothing compared to the power of big data. Leave it out of the equation and you’ll thank yourself later on.

Title image by htomren (Flickr) via a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license