How to become the “Band-Aid” in a sea of “Adhesive Bandages”?

Mehtab Kaur Virk
Marketing in the Age of Digital
4 min readNov 15, 2020


How many times have you heard someone say “ Do you have an adhesive bandage?”

Not many, I bet. Me neither.

When people want an adhesive bandage, they say “ Which aisle can I find some band-aids?”. That is the brand equity power of Band-Aid. Replacing an entire product category (adhesive bandage) with the Band-Aid brand. We marketers, all strive for that level of brand penetration and awareness.

Intuition and Experience are good guides for marketing decisions, but Big Data has become fundamental for success. Good data gives the right insights about customer behavior, usage, and preferences. As a consequence of the digital era we live in, big data is the fundamental consequence of the new marketing landscape. Geoffrey Moore, the author of Crossing the Chasm, rightly tweeted -” Without big data analytics, companies are blind and deaf, wandering out onto the Web like deer on a freeway.” Thus, BIG DATA is the answer to becoming the Band-Aid of your product category, without the mammoth marketing budget at the disposal of Johnson & Johnson. Read on further to learn more about the transformational power of Big Data.

Marketers and Big Data

Big Data philosophy encompasses unstructured, semi-structured, or structured data, but the main focus is on unstructured data. Almost 90% of defined data is unstructured data. Unstructured data cannot be easily stored in rows and columns in a Microsoft Excel table. Therefore, it is difficult to analyze but new analytics tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) have been created to access the insights available from unstructured data. Examples of unstructured data include e-mail messages, word processing documents, videos, photos, audio files, presentations, webpages, etc. This unstructured data is a gold mine of marketing intelligence.

Harnessing the potential of big data is on the agenda of every Chief Marketing Officer. Similar to the secret blend of herbs that makes KFC chicken finger lickin-good, Big Data Insights is the secret sauce that makes a marketing campaign powerful and sustainable. Some benefits of a data-driven integrated marketing strategy are:

  1. Customer Engagement — Big data can help make informed decisions about who are the customers, where are they, when, and how they want to be contacted.
  2. Retention and Loyalty — Influence customer loyalty and identity what keeps them coming back.
  3. Pricing Decisions — With Big Data, pricing decisions become more granulated with performance-based data from completed deals and incentives. This is in collaboration with product cost, competitor pricing, the perceived value of the product from the customer, and demand.
  4. Real-Time Changes — Marketers can leverage real-time data and take immediate and effective action. This is critical when analyzing data from GPS, IoT sensors, clicks on a webpage, or other real-time data.

Therefore, if we wish to design superior marketing campaigns, we must inculcate the use of Big Data and take the guesswork out of determining what customers want.

Using Big Data

There are all sorts of data available at the marketer's disposal to increase efficiency. Some main categories are Customer Data, Operational Data, and Financial Data. However, we must realize it's not a magical remedy. Marketers are not data scientists and technologies used to drive big data are beyond the capabilities of a marketer. The control of this data is with technology experts and they may not have the capability to understand the business outcomes of marketing and sales. Thus, relevant marketing data might get lost in the abyss of databases.

IT and Marketers must collaborate to transform the torrent of data into actionable insights and develop strategies. Big data and marketing data go hand in hand. Speed is crucial, and so is the agility to act with speed. However, as the volume of big data grows, the time available to make decisions is shrinking.

Big Data has the capability to reveal personality traits that people are themselves unaware of. Their interests, shopping habits, political views, religious views, associates, professional development can be mined from online behavior. Marketers must always be transparent to users about data collection and usage. There should be Proactive communication campaigns about location analytics, prediction accuracy, and brokered information.

Staying Ahead

We are in an age of hyper-personalization, where marketers need real-time, creative, and customer-responsive apps and tools to ensure they are able to deliver the right messages at the right time. Big Data accentuates the user experience. As mentioned earlier, the product category “adhesive bandage” has been replaced with the name Band-Aid. Band-Aid has ranked as one of the healthiest U.S. brands for multiple years. To get that level of recognition and awareness, marketers must incorporate data analysis into their strategies to increase profitable customers and project a sustainable growth model. The adoption of big data approaches in marketing will make it more innovative and impactful to customers.