Talent, not tech, key to data marketing

Talent, not technology alone, will be vital as organisations seek to derive business value from data-driven process such as CRM, marketing automation and customer insights engines, the head of STW Group’s newly created-practice area, data@Ogilvy, has warned.

Leon Bombotas, national director of data@Ogilvy, tells Marketing that brands should be looking to invest in teams with the right data and technological skills as a key priority moving forward. “A team with the right skills will get more value from an ‘average’ system than a low-skilled team working with a top-of-the-line system,” Bombotas says.

For businesses struggling to turn data collection into useful information, bringing on talent in the form of ‘data scientists’ will be increasingly common, aiming to take stock of the organisation’s current data assets. Without quality data, or a clear plan to collect quality data, investments in capabilities and technologies won’t pay off, Bombotas warns.

“The challenge will be finding the right talent that can commandeer the data,” he says.

But while data analytics is increasingly critical to marketing, it isn’t entirely new to most mature businesses, Bombotas points out. “The difference we’re now witnessing is that, in a digital age, entrepreneurial marketers are more inclined to seek out opportunities to mine, utilise and deploy the data.

“The greater a marketer’s aptitude with data and digital, the greater the chance they will identify and execute successful marketing programs,” he says.

Data@Ogilvy estimates the proportion of marketing budgets being put towards analytic programs at between 10% and 20%. Ecommerce businesses are more inclined to spend a higher percentage of their marketing budgets on analytics, he says, while retailers, telcos and banks are not far behind.

For marketers trying to make sense of the landscape, Bombotas offers three key steps for organisations to consider as they seek to derive business value from the huge amounts of data they have access to:

  1. Optimising existing marketing programs to grow customer lifetime value through improved acquisition, growth and retention,
  2. transforming the business by substantially improving the value proposition, improving processes, for example, enabling multi-channel capabilities and aligning organisational structure to deliver against commercial KPIs, and
  3. through ‘disruption’, or by using the data to enter into new markets.