The power of analytics

More than 90 marketing professionals gathered in Singapore last month for the topic “Harnessing the power of analytics: What leaders need to know about optimal marketing performance” – a seminar dedicated to discussing customer-focused business strategies using customer intelligence and an integrated marketing management framework.

William Adeney, Data and Analytics Consulting Lead, OgilvyOne
Topic: Harnessing the power of analytics – math marketing

William Adeney began his presentation with a brief introduction of the history of advertising, and the struggle it has always had with measurability. Citing renowned advertising pioneer Claude Hopkins in 1923 – “the time has come when advertising has in some hands reached a status of science. We know what is most effective, and we act on basic laws” – Adeney reminded the audience that the quest to make marketing more measurable and accountable was not a new one, and was still undergoing constant refinement.

Taking the audience through different eras up to the digital age, Adeney expounded on deriving actionable insights from data to make better marketing decisions today. “Everywhere I go (geographically), I leave imprints,” Adeney said, illustrating the power of simple data. When it comes to such data, Adeney asked the five fundamental questions in setting business objectives – who are your best customers; how can you find prospects; what drives profitability; what makes customers and prospects engage; and how should you communicate with them?

By addressing these issues, Adeney said marketers were better positioned to determine corporate objectives and achieve business goals by applying metrics to everything they did. Describing metrics as “fundamental pinnacles to achieve,” Adeney pointed out they needed to be aligned with corporate objectives. He said one method for this was by measuring and analyzing data carefully before optimizing it via a mix of key metrics. Adeney referred to this method as math marketing. This method was further enhanced by employing statistical modeling and building a marketing dashboard. On metrics, he stressed companies needed to identify changes in their engagement strategy to improve KPIs. In return, KPIs should align with the brand’s business objectives. “We should perfect how we treat customers each day,” Adeney said, directing the audience to move beyond a single customer view by adopting what he called the three-step digestive insight – prioritization, personalization and precision.

In conclusion, Adeney wrapped up by highlighting that organizations need to determine their talent needs, form a centre of excellence and forge external partnerships, all with the aim of allowing analytics to help maximize the customer experience.

Graham Flower, Managing Director, Intelligence Delivered
Topic: In search of relevance – adapting your business to sense and respond

Graham Flower opened with a challenging question – are today’s businesses relevant? By studying the drastic decline of the US credit card industry’s direct mail response rate, Flower emphasized his point, “as Albert Einstein puts it: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

As the purpose of a marketing function is to help customers buy, organizations have to first understand the behavior of their target audience. The issue lies in the broad gap between customers’ preferred purchase methodology and the available channels. Put simply – “how customers want to buy” and “how customers are able to buy” are not moving hand-in-hand.

And when such expectations are not met, customers lose confidence. “If your customers can trust you, their value increases,” Flower said, as he illustrated the power of customer trust using a case study graph, which depicted high efficiency in acquisition, retention, the growth of lifetime value and referral increment.

“Metrics do not align to the measurement of value,” Flower said, adding to Adeney’s previous points regarding metrics and their objectivity. The challenge remains in understanding the new world is not about selling the most. On the contrary, it is recognizing where sustainable value is created. Brands have to consider the risk, current customer value and future customer value.

Moving in-depth, Flower focused on building propositions that meet needs along with value, and subsequently shifted to the thematic line of “Insight-driven anticipation”. According to Flower, brands must rely on their customers’ behavioral data and attitudinal data. With customer insights and analysis at hand, this raw data is then converted to fitting propositions.

Lastly, Flower highlighted the power of real-time personalization by using the example of Netflix, an American provider of on-demand internet-streaming media. “You log on to Netflix, they get you to rate some films, and from there they recommend films you would actually want to see. They’ve got a refined knowledge about you through this simple data,” said Flower, attributing Netflix’s success to its personalized service. “Your best customers are becoming self-directed.”

Dermot McCutcheon, Head of Customer Intelligence, Centre of Excellence, Southeast Asia, SAS
Topic: From insight to performance – the case for predictive analytics

Because a marketer’s mandate correlates with the customers’ expectation, there is an undeniable shift in delivering customer experience both inside and outside marketing. To trail the ongoing trends closely, Dermot McCutcheon focused on turning data into knowledge, and ultimately enhancing business performance. Which retail products are customers most likely to add to their basket? How do banks maximize their customer value across all channels? Have public sectors considered which community services should they employ in the coming years? Taking these questions head-on, the answers are hidden in the data that can be unlocked by analytics, therefore enabling decisions to be made quickly about the next best action.

Sources have illustrated real-time interaction yields an optimal 40% successful response rate. Real-time interaction, as defined by McCutcheon, is customer-initiated and relationship-driven. When it comes to such a social approach, he calls for a defensive social position.

“Even the best plans may crash and burn,” said McCutcheon as he gave a case study of a failed social media campaign. Despite the high success rate of social marketing strategies, organizations have to know how they measure social engagement, which is often depicted in the number of online user endorsements.

“You may know how many people ‘like’ your Facebook page, but how many are paying any attention to what was being posted?” McCutcheon asked. “Brands have to know that the impact of social media is reverberating across enterprises.”

The key to optimising social media conversations and sentiment is to ensure integration with all other customer data available – by strongly relying on data mining to help businesses sift through large volumes, variety and velocity of growing data to gain value.

Summing up, McCutcheon reiterated a marketer’s unique mandate by understanding the system’s infrastructure that supports business processes. Driving home his subject of turning insights into performance, he showcased sample sets of formulated recommendations, thus giving brands ammunition to enhance the efficiency of their current marketing processes.

Originally appeared in Marketing Magazine August issue.

Click here for the full article that ran in Marketing Magazine.

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