Last night I was watching the Netflix series “Orange is the New Black.” For weeks, this show has been popping up on my “Recommended for you” feed. Along with that were shows that I had religiously watched before subscribing to Netflix, along with ones my friends constantly recommended to me. This sort of data use is so integrated into my experience with Netflix, you start to forget that it is indeed data-based marketing.

Here are three ways data-based marketing ends up in your daily life, and how you, as a marketer, can start to harness these ideas:

Recommendation Engines
Whether you are on Netflix, Spotify, Amazon or Wal-Mart’s website, you likely have seen recommendations. In the case of Netflix or Spotify (right), they take your viewing/listening habits and make assumptions based on other people’s data. For a retailer, the recommendation engine is crucial to your customer experience, and if you’ve had an e-commerce site for a period of time, the data is readily available. What products have people browsed for before they bought another product? What products cause a site drop-off? What sales lead to the highest conversions? By integrating this type of data, the customer gets a more pleasant shopping experience, and the retailer has a MUCH higher conversion rate.

Ever leave a retailer’s website and hop over to your favorite news site or music blog and see the same sort of products you were looking at 15 minutes ago in the sidebar? It’s no coincidence, and it’s a seamless use of data. By utilizing real-time bidding on variable display ads, smart retailers are taking what they’ve learned about your visit to their site, and by the use of cookies, applying it to other parts of your Internet browsing. Rather than seeing banner ads for products that don’t apply to you, smart data use can actually craft your user experience as you browse the web. If done tactfully, this service can greatly enhance your browsing, and can lead to a better return on marketing investment for the marketer.

Your Mailbox
If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know the amount of data that CAN go into mailing and email campaigns, but are you really harnessing that data, and is the data actually improving the recipient’s day? The most amazing mailpieces and emails I get aren’t necessarily the ones that just use personalization, but the ones that use DEEP personalization. My address, birthdate, family status, income range, etc. all factor in to truly smart mailing campaigns, and furthermore, my purchase and browsing history can be captured and utilized for an experience that keeps me from throwing a piece away or relegating it to the spam folder. Personally, I open my emails from Amazon and Ebay (left; yes, I might search for pinball machines and sneakers on a regular basis…) multiple times per day because they are about things I actually actively search for. With variable-data printing, mail can have the same impact.

Data is absolutely everywhere, and you are generating more of it as we speak. When data is used properly, it enhances your viewing, listening or browsing activities, and as marketers realize this on a grander scale, the usage of this data will become even more seamless in our daily routines.