Big Data + Little Execution = No ROI

Emerging Technology, ROI, Strategy

Starbuck’s mobile app is an industry leader.  Curiosity made me an early-adapter.  The app itself transformed me into an app-ambassador. What intrigued me most when I first installed the app was the amount of data it was able to collect about me and my buying habits.  It was a data gold mine.  It not only told Starbucks exactly what I bought but also where and when I bought it.  Talk about “big data.” I was excited to see how Starbucks was going to use all that data for marketing. I just couldn’t imagine Starbucks investing enough to build an app of that caliber without using it to drive an equally impressive marketing program.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like they did. After a year of eager anticipation, I’ve concluded that the marketing program being driven by the app is as disappointing as the app is impressive.  Two things in particular stand out as inexcusable failures for a company of Starbuck’s size and capacity.

First, I have yet to receive an offer from Starbucks for a product that actually interests me.  In other words, Starbucks knows my entire purchase history for the last 12 months but they aren’t using it to tailor their offers.  I suppose their marketing objective could be to expand my “taste” beyond what it is today and thereby increase my lifetime value.  If that’s the case, though (and I really don’t think it is), I would hope they’d call an audible after I didn’t respond to the first 50 offers on a fruit smoothie or other fruity beverage.  For me Starbucks is coffee and my behavior screams that.  Unfortunately, Starbucks’ marketing isn’t intelligent enough to hear my behavioral screams.

The second thing is much more significant and something I can’t believe Starbucks isn’t doing.  Here’s the story…

We moved our office this summer.  Our old office had a Starbucks right around the corner and I was good for about 15 purchases a month (in addition to the 5 purchases a month at the location near my house).  Sometimes it was oatmeal and a latte in the morning.  Other times it was a chai tea latte pick-me-up in the afternoon.  Every once in a while it was both.  That was my pattern every month from the day I installed the app until the day we moved to our new office.

Since there isn’t a Starbucks near our new office, my purchasing behavior literally changed overnight.  Today, I make less than 5 purchases a month and they are all on the weekend at the location near my house.

Starbucks had all the data I just shared with you, so I fully expected them to hit me with an all-out marketing campaign to either 1) get me back into my routine or 2) figure out why my routine changed.  It’s been five months now and nothing – well, except for their continued attempts to sell me the fruity drink I haven’t bought the last 50 times they offered it or a sweet holiday drink I haven’t bought the last 30 times they offered it.

“Big data” is all the rage in marketing right now.  But, as Starbucks has surprisingly illustrated, big data with little execution means no ROI.  All the data in world isn’t going to add dollars to your bottom line if your marketing isn’t intelligent enough to act on it.

To learn more about how m2M Strategies’ intelligent marketing platform can help you maximize the ROI you’re getting from your data, give us a call.