When most marketers use the word ‘data’, what springs to mind are large sets of numbers, Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based IT systems and complicated algorithms. Big data speak is the mot du jour. There is even a big data Week in London called the Festival of Data.
Just how do marketers cope with the proliferation of big data and fast evolving digital platforms and become a brand serious about understanding and leveraging data and automation capabilities?
A panel of digital and marketing experts at this week’s AdTech event in Sydney highlighted that many of the world’s leading brands, such as Qantas and Uber, are already well on their way to making the most of first-party data through effective deployment of a wide range of technologies and platforms.
But technologies are not created equal, and the question of which technologies are most appropriate at different stages of a big data journey, for companies of varying levels of establishment and sizes, remains a major challenge.
CMO of online wine discount business Vinomofo, Jean Thomas, said it is vital for marketing to work closely with the rest of the business if they’re to fully leverage the latest in data-driven technology and platform offerings.
“Marketing is a given, because we have access to data, but it’s really important to work closely with your IT team and the executive to make the most of your technologies and platforms,” Thomas told attendees.
When it comes to data, the days of sales, HR, marketing and technology teams working in silos are well and truly over, agreed media and marketing tech company DWA’s APAC head of intent, Aryeh Sternnberg.
“You need to look at organisations where teams work together to understand what can be done with the data and ensure everyone can be involved in the decision-making process,” he explained. “You can’t market a product and then just pass that data along.”
Experts also stressed that while technology is a great catalyst for driving transformation, there needs to be a minimum standard for any business starting its digital journey in order to succeed.
Adobe Media Optimiser APAC’s general manager, Matt Bruce, said most of the conversations it has with organisations about digital is around transformation that extends through the whole business.
“As transformation takes hold, there really is going to be everyone, not just the CMO involved, to make it happen more effectively,”he said.
“While technology is important, the people you put around those platforms are equally as important. Don’t rush in without really looking at the people that need to be involved, both internally and externally and what are the processes that are going to be around that.”
Thomas added organisations need to have the right people that understand the data generated through digital channels and enablement.
“Understand the value of what you currently using the right people, don’t just add another stack on top of it,” he advised. “Hire the talent that can help you dissect your data and give you the right insights. Then you can invest in the right solution that is platform-based.
“In fact, this is something we just did a few weeks ago, which meant even a non-technical person in our organisation could understand.”
From a product development perspective, 7-Eleven’s head of strategy, innovation and business development, Stephen Eyears, said it is essential to consider data that will be generated from a prototype of any new product, whether it is physical or digital.
“Organisations large and small give so much thought to new apps and websites, but you need to give thought to what data and how much of it is captured, and how those insights will be used,” he said. “The best data scientists are out there who can manage your data, and they may not necessarily be the people you can find within your company. So it is worthwhile looking around for organisations that have that ability to help you set up a data strategy and analyse those results.”