Unlocking the hidden value of your data

These are five areas of data that marketers should watch over the next 12 months, writes Dr Roger Kermode, HP South Pacific’s practice principal, analytics and data management, enterprise services.

value-theme-badgeOne of the biggest complaints from marketers is that they are drowning in an excess of data, but in spite of this they lack true insights. They are under mounting pressure to improve their data analytics expertise and demonstrate how this insight can be used to deliver greater customer loyalty and real business value.

Today’s consumer is inherently connected – offline and online are no longer separate. Everywhere they turn, everything they do and every product and service they interact with has data attached to it. For a brand, this data is an open door to provide a consistent and positive consumer experience every time, no matter the channel choice or touch point. It represents a big opportunity to generate powerful insights and valuable knowledge immediately, and ensure your brand exceeds service and customer expectations by providing a truly individual experience.

So how do marketers unlock the hidden value of their data? There are five areas marketing professionals should watch over the next 12 months:

1. Ensure the data you’re collecting is the right data

Successful big data driven campaigns are underpinned by the accurate and timely collection of valuable data about customer interactions and analysing it to provide the necessary insights and business intelligence for companies to better understand their customers.

However, it’s important that this data is capable of generating insights. Marketers must make sure that what they are analysing is current, specific and insightful. When this is the case customer data can be used to improve engagement and interactions with a brand’s audience.

2. Step away from the spreadsheet

If all the pertinent data has been gathered on all the various customer interactions and the numbers have been crunched  to create client reports many marketers find themselves asking ”but what now?” This is the time to look beyond the standard graphs to make recommendations on what story the data is telling and see if there are opportunities to tackle wider issues or take advantage of new trends.

Organisations must apply a holistic approach by implementing micro segmentation and an innovative, relevant customer service strategy for these insights to effectively optimise the customer experience across all aspects of business operations, including products, services, sales, sourcing, logistics and employee engagement. The key is making data-driven decisions with individual customers at the heart of the solution.

3. Collaborate with the wider business

Big data is a team sport and not the sole responsibility of either the CMO or the CIO. To exploit big data, marketers must collaborate with other senior leaders in the company, including the CIO, to develop the culture, capabilities and competencies needed to close the gap between the data collated and turn valuable business insights from data into action backed by efficient processes and systems.

The ability to effectively capture, use, analyse and apply data to drive business decisions is now a key driver of performance for all organisations. Consequently, it is predicted that there will be an ongoing shortage of analytical talent necessary for organisations to take advantage of big data, so the sooner enterprises can improve and integrate their digital, online and mobile skills the better.

4. Don’t be hampered by old technology

Many marketing executives see the potential of big data for not only optimising revenue streams, but also for increasing the efficiency of campaigns for sales conversions and accelerating the pipeline. They are, however, often hampered by outdated, slow or siloed technology. Poor data consistency, siloed data repositories across different parts of an organisation, incompatible data types and long project lead times due to legacy IT systems are common complaints from executives implementing customer analytics projects.

Modern business technology, systems and process, are central to connecting a customer’s buying journey with an organisation’s business processes. Without them, decisions are made with the wrong data or inaccurate data which can leave a business painfully exposed to a better informed more agile competitor. Therefore, businesses which want to continue winning, serving and retaining customers and driving business growth must continue to invest in technology that ensures that data is available when it is needed.

5. Fail fast by innovating with your existing data and seek out new data to innovate even faster

Innovation is acceleration. Short sharp experiments need not be expensive and the more learning loops you can make, the quicker you’ll achieve customer traction. Furthermore, new enabling technologies, such as location based analytics and cross platform usage analysis can now create real-time insights into your market, your customers, and how well your business delivers the engaging, contextual experiences consumers demand.

It’s no longer about multi-channel, it’s about omni-channel and that means always being on the lookout for new data from new sources to understand your customer better as they act – not minutes or hours later after they’ve moved on. This means your business must be nimble and have processes in place that constantly question “Is there another way to look at what the customer is doing? What can we do better so we can quickly react to new behaviours and thinking?”

Partnerships with other parties who have data that you don’t and systems that make the sharing of data simple and efficient are essential. When executed properly this leads to fast, efficient innovation and the next generation of products and services that will drive growth.