Smarter Data

The Smarter Data conference was a great event leaving me excited and challenged by the thought leadership demonstrated in the data space. CEOs and senior data experts alike presented on a range of topics including using data for segmentation, the role of customer insight and modelling in retail, GIS, and tracking leads on social media. I will share a few speakers who were of particular interest.

Matt Annerino (Live Nation Concerts, USA) manages all aspects of email marketing, including strategy and execution. He spoke about the Affinity model they developed, which is a database made up of correlations between artists, generated for every send. For example, if I were to attend a Jay Z concert, or had Jay Z added to my favourites list, I would then be sent emails promoting what the Affinity model has determined as similar artists I am more likely to have an affinity with. While it is a simple idea, 20% of these highly targeted emails make up 60% of the company’s ticket sales, making it a very effective model.

Tom Skotidas (Skotidas) spoke of the importance of inbound social selling to generate leads. If personal social profiles are built in the right way they can be highly effective way of generating new sales leads for your business. He tracks this by collecting data on all the links and pages from which he knows business can be bought in by e.g. LinkedIN or Twitter. Tom aligned social networks to being the new search engines for people. In some instances, people will pop up for search terms such as ‘direct marketing’ above a business in that field. But how do you know this is where your leads are coming from? Track, collect and build on data. Once you know, you can invest more resources or points of contact into these areas.

Duncan Stewart (Ipsos) talked about how data is becoming so complex that we now need to interpret it through ‘stories’ in order to make sense of it all. In the past we had flat data spreadsheets, today we have 2D dashboard Infographics. He talks about stories as something that has a beginning, middle and end and tells us something about the human condition. In order to extract a story from the data, you start by asking the right questions (i.e. collecting the right data), listening to the data and interpreting it in a way that tells us something about the human condition. We need to bring human qualities into our data interpretation in order to understand the increasing complexity.

Hywel Evans (Aimia) explained how the traditional loyalty model, where brands obtain data about their customers at a store level only, needs to be updated to include data from a variety of platforms. Brands are seeking engagement from customers on social mediums and rewarding them for this engagement. He also shared how real-time pricing – different pricing levels for different customers – is being used to obtain higher purchasing/revenue levels overall. Data mining should be used to find the particular segments which can be targeted as a group to enact certain business objectives. Although the ultimate goal is to provide a completely individualised customer experience, customer segments are still important to be able to target subsets of the customer database and change their behaviour in accordance with overall business objectives.

The highly anticipated ‘Creepy vs Clever’ debate was between a panel with three on each side, arguing for and against the use of data driven marketing, and how far is too far. An interesting point made by Scott Bradley (CEO of VMob) is that it all comes back to the brand – whether you understand your customers and what is acceptable to them.

Throughout the day I learnt a great deal about the wider application of data in marketing, opening my eyes to some incredibly smart and savvy work.

Author: Gabrielle Gillard