Sylvia Nantier
This is a post by Sylvia Nantier

ADMA’s 14th annual Data Day boasted an all-star line-up of international and local speakers from top-notch forward-thinking brands that have found innovative ways to integrate data, marketing and technology for optimal business results. Data day remains the largest, most comprehensive data-driven conference in Australia and, lucky for us, we got to go! Here are the biggest points I took away:

Wendy Walker, head of marketing in Intuit’s Global Expansion arm, presented 10 categories for growing your brand with data, which I boiled down to three topics and infused with other speakers’ points:

1. Know your customers.

Have “customer empathy”. Ask yourself, what do your customers want? How can we deliver it? This age-old nugget of knowledge learned in your fundamental Marketing 101 class means something different to what the textbook from 10, maybe even five years ago would tell you. At the ADMA Data Day, we saw that technology updates are refreshing how we get to know and subsequently target our customers.

For instance, Willem Paling, Director of Media & Technology at IAG explained how artificial intelligence now allows us to segment and target our audiences with a fine toothcomb, and it’s getting finer and finer.
We want to serve ads to those most likely to buy. This is all well and good, but there’s no differentiation between “always buyers” (ie, those who will buy regardless of whether or not they were marketed to) and “compliers” – people who without marketing don’t buy but with marketing do buy. We want to aim for the “compliers”.
AI technology is now working towards the goal of knowing who the “compliers” are. By successfully marketing to only compliers, you don’t waste your time and money on the other segments where marketing doesn’t make a difference.

2. Unlock the power of your data; discover, define, experiment and refine. This requires rapid experimentation. The process should be data-driven.

BT Financial Group’s Head of Marketing Karen Giulani had a very similar framework for the content marketing process, introducing it as the “Agile Framework”:

  • Discover
  • Define
  • Design and Deliver
  • Deep dive

To Patrick McQuaid, NAB’s General Manager of Customer Data & Analytics, data-driven doesn’t mean data in the front and the back, but all the way through. There’s value in campaigns where you can accumulate and process real-time feedback from customers or target audiences. This is in line with what we were talking about in a previous article about the content optimisation feedback loop. See more here. 

So how can you start using this process, integrating data? Think big and start small with the right case. What’s an example of the wrong case to start small with? A loyalty case, because you’ll lose a big stakeholder group trying to make a case for a customer lifetime value play – the finance team. The ROI is just too far in the future to get them on board for a test case. Start off with something that is shorter term, but can show it moves the dial. If you can move the dial in a small way proportional to the project, that will instil confidence in the other stakeholder groups to start widely applying to larger projects.

The last step, “deep dive” or “refine” involves setting KPIs. What KPI timeframes should we be setting? To answer this question we need to understand how long it takes for a content strategy to take hold. We’ll use NAB as an example.

In May 2017 the brand increased the volume of emails sent, but then the open rate dipped. Why is this? This made people switch off – if you bombard them too much they will become numb to your message, and treat it like junk mail. With this insight, NAB changed the strategy, lowering volume and being more selective about what was sent out. The email strategy took 18 months to see results. So we’d set KPIs for email at 12- and then 18-month marks.

This sits in line with Giulani’s words: know what you want to achieve and work backwards – it’s a long-term game.

3. Never take your eyes off the prize. 
Or “constructive dissatisfaction”. Constantly change based on what the data says. All that’s left is understanding what the purpose of each customer touch point should be.

Guilani says do your customer segmentation and content planning to serve one or more of the following three purposes:

  1. Reach
  2. Depth
  3. Relationship

Wrapping Up
To NAB’s Patrick McQuaid, data insights are the game-changer in winning the race for customers. NAB invested in data and analytics via a nine-month rollout of their new data science organisation and analytics infrastructure, data analytics moving from a de-centralised model to centralisation.

ANZ’s Emma Gray, Chief Data Officer, brought up the widely known paradox in the marketing world that if a brand tries to be everything to everyone, it will end up helping no one.

This can also be applied to data: if your data analytics are decentralised and aimed at informing any and every stakeholder, they and you will end up learning nothing.

It’s fair to say that Data Day really nourished this planner’s hunger for data-driven ideas….but I’m always hungry. Until next year!