Data and the Members' Journey
Posted by Norma Garza, VP Remote Transaction Resources, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 3/8/2017

Data being all the craze now, we are all clamoring to get more and more of it to analyze and determine the fate of our organization(s).   I wanted to find out what was happening in the world of data, Big Data (BD) and Big Data Analytics (BDA).  Interestingly enough, I learned from one source that in 2009 there was but one published paper on the subject with the frenzy of published findings ramping up interest just within the last few years¹.  It seems that prior to 2009 BD/BDA was but a twinkle in the digital world’s eye.  And I wondered why?  Come to find out, as the majority of us know, the digital world and the fundamental makeup of the data only evolved into this gargantuan focus within the last few years.

Ultimately, I came across three papers, which peaked my interest; 1) The New Marketing Reality 2) Critical analysis of Big Data challenges and analytical methods and 3) ‘Rogue Algorithms’ and the Dark Side of Big Data.  

EConsultancy’s report written in Association with IBM Watson Marketing titled The New Marketing Reality discusses Big Data (BD), Big Data Analytics (BDA) and the effects of this phenomenon as it relates to the customer journey. The second source written by Uthayasankar Sivarajah, Muhammad Mustafa Kamal, Zahir Irani, Vishanth Weerakkody, Brunel University London, Brunel Business School, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom is based on an academia and practitioners’ findings is published by the Journal of Business Research.   And the third article written by Carol O’Neil’s and published by Knowledge@Wharton on September 16, 2015, I thoroughly enjoyed and which can be found at

All three are very thought provoking, diverse and yet complementary papers as they pertained to BD/BDA and the customer journey.  I highly recommend these good reads, especially in this ever-changing, ever-competitive and challenging digital environment.

Here are the Key Takeaways from EConultancy’s, The New Marketing Reality:

  • A focus on acquisition is blinding executives to the reservoir of potential growth they already possess.
  • There is still a great deal of scope to find growth in existing resources, if only companies are able to focus on improving their integration.
  • Technology is a sticking point even for the more advanced companies. The task ahead is to assess what companies currently have in terms of tools, whether or not they are a fit for the purpose, or how they can be made fit. 
  • The potential reach promised by digital is tempting executives toward an expensive and channel-focused customer acquisition strategy when they should be maximizing their investment by focusing on customer sets they already have.
  • Mapping customer journeys without confusing the issue by introducing more diverse customer segments will allow companies clarity on their most effective strategies and allow them to tie journeys across channels together more cleanly.
  • Being stuck in silos is as much a mindset as a structural issue.
  • Companies further down the customer journey maturity curve are likely to pull away from the laggards even faster in the future.  

The authors’ abstract view in The Critical Analysis of Big Data Challenges and Analytical Methods suggest taking a holistic view before delving feet first, so to speak, into the abyss of BD.  That said, I respect the authors’ research and highlight the added integral piece of the customer/member journey in the process.  Because again, isn’t it all about the member.

And finally, Cathy O’Neil’s Rogue Algorithms’ and the Dark Side of Big Data, while general in nature was most interesting in the sense of how data can be taken in so many misfired directions.  With that, taking careful consideration in the data presented while evaluating the data and how it will ultimately affect your member’s journey will be critical as you move forward.

After reading these three papers, you may, as I did, realize that in the current state of affairs,  Big Data and Analytics are years in the making for most and that reality is going to have to suffice for now.  The bigger question is, how can we incorporate and transcend the resources and information at hand to get us to a point where we are comfortable and confident in what first-data and second, again for most, translates as meaningful and effective in your member’s journey and lifetime value with your organization?  And which will afford the organization the continued competitive advantage or allow the hope of strive towards that competitive advantage. 

Keeping mindful of the takeaways and heed of what your members’ value in their journey is as together you maneuver through the HOV lane of their financial road.  

Categories: Marketing & Printing, Remote Transaction, Research, Sales & Service, Strategic Planning & Consulting, Technology Consulting & Compliance
Comments (1)
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Posted by Cheryl Sayers on 3/8/2017 1:56 PM:
Really good subject for your post! I'll will make it a point to review the articles you mentioned. We are all so focused on the data!
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