Data and analytics, coupled with machine learning, have as much potential to impact society as the entire internet has over the past two decades. In just this year alone, global business intelligence and analytics software sales will grow by 7.3% to reach $AUD 24.2 billion ($US 18.3 billion), according to Gartner analyst Kurt Schlegel.
This topic, and more like it, will be discussed at this year’s Adobe Symposium, May 23 to 24 in Sydney. (Click here to view the agenda and register.)
It’ll be budget well-spent, enabling companies to “classify customers into more granular segments, use analytics to allocate resources more effectively, and comparatively benchmark operations to identify outliers,” Schlegel told CMO.com.
Gartner also predicts that data ownership will transfer to lines of business. In other words, marketing isn’t just going to use the data—it’s going to own it.
Indeed, stewardship of data will be critical to marketing, said Anders Sӧrman-Nilsson, global futurist, author, and managing director of Thinque consultancy.
“It will be impossible for brands to claim that they are customer-centric without them being extremely data-centric in the future,” he told CMO.com. “What data specifically is important depends on, and is contextual to, whether you are B2B or B2C, your industry, and the intricacies of the type of customer journey you are wanting to design.”
For a B2B brand, data points around engagement with whitepapers and webinars “might be critical to how you iterate and optimise your customer touch points,” Sӧrman-Nilsson explained, whereas a B2C retailer might be more interested in geo-contextual data, such as mobile search, beacon interactions, and local check-ins.
“For utility companies providing services to smarthomes, IoT data from devices like fridges, smart TVs, and thermostats could also provide non-human-initiated data, which may help from a customer service or experience perspective,” he added.
Do Your Homework
Early on, organisations must think carefully about what they need to know from their data, why they need to know it, and how it will be used, advised RP Singh, chairman and producer of Content Marketing Summit Asia.
“There are hundreds of digital tools available to understand more and more about your consumers, which is resulting in a data dump and not real insights,” Singh said. Instead, companies need to strike a balance between digital analysis of their customers and observation of actual behaviour.
Sӧrman-Nilsson noted that relevant data, properly visualised and used in the right strategic decision-making context, can allow brands to iterate faster, innovate in real time, perform quick prototyping, and adjust tactical campaigns quickly.
“This might enable a cinema that competes with a theatre to analyse Twitter or Facebook conversations about the Oscar mix-up, for example, gauge interest in the two winners of Best Picture, and create real-time campaigns to engage a digitally engaged cinematic fan who might be considering their cultural consumption that day,” Sӧrman-Nilsson said.
Where and how data is collected will vary depending on the market. In emerging markets such as India, data is often collected from mobile devices, Sӧrman-Nilsson said, but in Singapore and Australia, sources should also include desktops.
James Collier, chief intelligence officer at media agency Bohemia, noted a greater focus on location-led intelligence. Brands that can effectively fuse location data with customer, competitor, and communications intelligence can tailor marketing more strategically.
“[Brands can] break the cycle of often wasteful national advertising,” Collier said. “It allows brands to focus their energy on the customers that are physically able to buy a product or service.”
With local data in hand, brands can focus on creating advertising copy, calls to action, and even prices that best resonate with a specific market.
“These geographically ‘pretargeted’ solutions have the potential to increase customer acquisition as well as amplify customer comms outside of traditional DR channels,” Collier said.