Dive into data

by Laura Turner
14 Dec 2016
5 min read
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Dive into data

Data. This is the first of 53 times that you will read that word in this article so we will apologise in advance!

Over the last five years, data has been a buzz word in marketing, as people’s movements are captured through a myriad of offline and online channels, with increasing detail and accuracy. It’s not exactly the sexiest term in marketing, and doesn’t sound like on overly riveting topic. But after hearing five guest speakers at ADMA’s 30 Below event ‘Dive into Data’ our interest has been piqued and we are excited about jumping deeper into the world of data. The speakers shared their insights on data, what it means to them, their teams and their companies, and what the future of data looks like in their lines of business and wider industries.

The first speaker, Harry Lowes - GM Media and Digital at Telstra, thinks of data like a plumbing system that touches on all aspects of a business. The system has to contain clean data and be used throughout the company to keep it flowing. He mentioned the numerous benefits of capturing data; getting real-time insights into customers and competitors, the ability to align with other channel activities and increasing customer loyalty just to name a few. However, to really leverage data, we must look beyond the data itself to who is using it, and how it is being analysed.

“Data means something different to everyone. The key is identifying your stakeholders to better understand the story your data is telling”

Capturing data is one thing, but knowing how to use it is another. Having a clear problem to solve and questions to ask before looking at the data is the first step in truly understand how to utilize relevant data. And just like a plumbing system, it must have processes to support its capability. Without these processes, the capability is worthless.

The Direct and National Head of Analytics at Resolution Media – Joshua Lee, showed the importance of defining tactical and strategic objectives, and identifying KPI’s and targets before collecting and analsying data to enable accurate measurement of data which ultimately leaves into insights and actionable outputs.

“Identify the difference between your tactical and strategic targets to better understand your data”

Working with Dominos, Joshua identified that by having solid objectives and targets over a number of years the pizza giant was able to optimize data insights to achieve their long term strategy of increasing online sales. Josh also highlighted the benefits of setting up Google Analytics to track specific objectives, and how when GA is tracking data effectivity, there are multiple efficiencies and insights that come about as a result. Knowing what story the data in Google Analytics is telling you is vital in optimizing it. Reports such as ‘Time on site’ and ‘Bounce Rate’ showing a decrease aren’t necessarily bad, they illustrate the changing way in which people are consuming content. People want bite sized, snack-able pieces of content, and through social media, people are likely to only visit one page of your website for a short amount of time as they are only looking for specific content. This shows how important it is to understand your objectives, and how data ties into it all.

Meredith Zolnowski the Head of Data Partnerships at Google spoke about the opportunities of data, and how the importance of intercommunication between systems to leverage off existing data, tying it together to paint a bigger picture. There are numerous programs that capture data, and there are immense possibilities in integrating numerous sources of data to better understand it. She highlighted the importance of not only collecting and understating data, but also in having the ability to communicate what the data means.

“Data is only as good as the story you wrap it in”

Teams working with data at Google attended training courses to learn how to tell a story about the data, to wrap it up in an interesting and relevant way to wide and diverse audience. It’s about making data relatable and understandable so that it can be consumed and used in the most effective way possible. 

The forth speaker, Mark Baartse – Chief Marketing Officer at Showpo took a step back from being immersed in data, and spoke the importance of using it in conjunction with intuition.

“It’s about finding the balance between data, and gut instinct”

Mark discussed how in the good old days creatives would come up with a concept and everyone would trust them and then there would be very little evidence as to whether their creation had served its purpose of speaking to the demographic it set out to. We are now in the polar opposite situation where we are drowning in data and metrics to measure campaigns and their success and we dissect audiences into very specific segments. Mark argued however, that trusting your gut is still important and should be given more attention that it increasingly is. He did concede that there is probably is a middle ground where you back up your gut instinct with supporting data.

There is often a difference between what you think you know, and what the data is telling you. The marketing team at Showpo thought they knew exactly who their consumers were, but data proved otherwise. Rather than being city-based urban women, some of the most lucrative markets were in the regional towns in Western Australia. This illustrates how important it is to be able to use data to support, or contradict, your thoughts and instincts to create actionable outcomes. Again it plays back to the idea that data is useless without valuable analysis.

Douglas Nicol - Creative Partner at The Works, brought insights from his passion project ‘The Deceit Algorithm’ to reveal the truth and lies told in social media. Each year his agency works with UTS students on research projects. This year the algorithm they created analysed thousands of words in social posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to score data on its likelihood of being a lie.

Image credit: The Works, The Deceit Algorithm

This type of data gathering and analysis creates insights that are invaluable to how companies deliver effect marketing strategies to set them apart from the pack. Interestingly the findings from the research suggest that although women lie more than men, on the whole, women lie in order to make others feel better and men lie to make themselves look good. Also, according to the algorithm (which boasts a reported 80% accuracy rate) on average 49% of social posts are deceitful and 51% are truthful. So the moral of the story is – don’t believe everything you see on social!

“Great data must collide with a great idea”

What are the key snapshot focuses for data in 2017?

  • True and authentic customer centricity. Brands need to start walking the walk, not just talking the talk of connecting with their customers. Understanding customers on a deeper level through emotional storytelling needs to be a key focus for 2017.
  • Leveraging off data captured in various systems and ensuring systems support each other and communicate effectively and efficiently to show a broader and deeper view of data.
  • Working towards better understanding ‘click to brick’ by tying the online and offline world together to track user journeys throughout their lifecycle.
  • Optimizing technologies and using the data that is captured. It’s not just the data, its insights and how they are used.
  • Creating a data culture internally through storytelling and understanding all stakeholders and their motivations and interactions with data.

To find out more about how we use data intelligently for our clients at Adrenalin get in touch.

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