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How to overcome the three big pain points of data

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DataFor many brands today, data has become the most valuable asset, and marketers are equipped with a variety of ways to collect it – from social media listening tools to in-store data, CRM software, call centres, mobile usage, web analytics and third-party sources. There is a wealth of data at their disposal.

Although data-driven marketing offers exciting, new opportunities for brands, there are numerous challenges and obstacles that can hamper a marketer’s ability to succeed. We carried out research with 85 marketers asking them to vote for their biggest data challenge from the following three common pain points:

  1. Getting data fast enough to act
  2. Data in legacy systems – no single or unified customer view
  3. Generating insights from your data

This article will explore these three pain points and look at how digital marketers can mitigate these challenges in their pursuit to deliver a more customer-centric, cross-channel approach.

Getting data fast enough to act

Having a lot of data is inconsequential – it is the quality of the data and how you choose to use it that counts. The third most common data challenge for respondents was ‘Getting data fast enough to act’ (22%).

The digital world has made consumers impatient. They want immediate gratification and fast responses. Marketers are under pressure to offer speed at scale and deliver faster business models so that they can react instantly to changing customer behaviours. The focus on speed has changed everything – not only do brands offer same-day deliveries, but they must also move at the speed of culture – with activity such as positive or negative sentiment on social media forcing brands to get in the fast lane.

Brands that want to connect with modern customers need to use data at scale and at speed, and to do that they must digitise the entire customer life cycle and collect data at each touchpoint. However, data gathered in different stages of the customer life cycle is one of the reasons that internal silos keep being created.

For brands to become technologically and socially agile, they are joining forces with smart technology partners that offer digital and consumer marketing expertise and fast dashboard reporting aligned to relevant data as it comes in.

Generating insights from your data

There was a time when marketers relied on their gut feeling when making decisions. Today, the data is there but access to it is difficult, meaning marketers are not happy.

The second most common data complaint was being able to generate meaningful business and consumer insights (32%). This suggests that while marketers are inundated with data from numerous sources, they are struggling to extract empirical evidence and actionable information to drive decisions and create meaning from it.

Data becomes valuable only when it is translated into actionable insight. However, the sheer volume of data acquired means that many of the insights that could be extracted are going untapped.

The key to dealing with these issues is having a clear understanding of what you want to get from your data. Savvy marketers are finding ways to collect behavioural data from interactions and then extrapolate insights to improve the customer experience. This data challenge is often alleviated by balancing data with insights and technology.

Various marketing tools and technology solutions exist that provide powerful analytics to unlock insights and deepen the brand relationship with customers.

Data in legacy systems – no unified customer view

Having data in legacy systems with no single or unified customer view was the most common response, with 46% of respondents citing this as their top pain point.

This is hardly surprising. The customer experience is becoming increasingly complex because of the proliferation of devices and channels; furthermore, organisational data is highly fragmented at several levels, leading to siloed data and duplicate customer records in different databases. This creates data quality challenges and disjointed marketing efforts as no one is fully responsible for the overall picture.

Consumers expect brands to have a complete picture of all their interactions with them and to use that information to tailor communications and make the buying process effortless. Brands therefore cannot overlook the importance of delivering an integrated experience and having a unified customer view. By integrating all available data about each customer into one single view, you can deliver an effective customer experience across all channels.

Being able to combine data gathered from all channels into a unified database will improve customer experience and maximise return. While technology can make this happen, companies also need to look at how they organise themselves and how to get siloed cross-functional teams to work together.

It is important to note that for many marketers having a unified customer view is not a realistic aim, as the financial and resource investment may not be justified.

Smart data builds relationships between the brand and the customer

Today’s customers manoeuvre across multiple channels, devices and networks, so it is vital that marketers find ways to create meaningful relationships with them.

All three of the data challenges discussed above are magnified by the flood of data now available, and each stems from brands wanting to provide customers with cross-channel interactions, however and whenever they choose. Thankfully these challenges are not insurmountable. More and more brands are tackling their data challenges by turning to data management platforms – designed to make sense of the vast volumes of data generated to deliver timely, relevant messages across every channel.

Marketers realise that to overcome data challenges they need to focus on real-time data connectivity and assemble data from multiple origins into a central hub. Cross-channel marketing technology platforms see through all the data, with some providing a comprehensive set of services that support enterprise marketers at scale.

The effective use of data is central to cross-channel marketing, and with the right technology marketers can have a holistic view and management of all their data – drawing insights from individual customer interactions with their brand to build better relationships with their customers.

Chini Ugboma is content marketing manager at Cheetah Digital

cheetahdigital.com

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JWT partners with University of Sydney to explore tech-driven creativity

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J. Walter Thompson has formed a partnership with the University of Sydney to explore how technology can be applied to the creative process and develop creative solutions for digital transformation in China.

The partnership will kick off in December 2018 with an Industry and Community Project Unit (ICPU), that will see 16 University of Sydney students from interdisciplinary areas form small teams to develop creative, ethical and context-sensitive solutions over four-week intensive courses. The University introduced ICPUs earlier this year, to provide units of study based on authentic problems and issues set out by industry, community and government organizations.

Students will be based in Sydney for the first week, where they work through the project brief, background research, and information, as well as country information. They then undertake intensive targeted research with their project groups. During weeks two and three, students will work in Shanghai with JWT China.

The final week will be spent back in Sydney, where they write up their assessment task and undertake interactive workshops to encourage critical reflection on their experience and transferability to career development.

“Ultimately the partnership will work towards what actions creative agencies can take now to deliver efficiencies across their business, and to ensure creativity is able to effectively adapt to the implementation of artificial intelligence and new technologies,” said Carter Chow, the chief executive officer of JWT China.

“We're particularly interested in exploring the connection between human and machine learning and how this will change roles in the future. We hope this is the start of many innovative and future-facing topics that both JWT China and the University of Sydney can work together on solving for the creative industry.”

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Circles.Life unveils Discover, its new AI-powered lifestyle feature

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Digital telco Circles.Life has launched an AI-powered feature called Discover in its app to allow customers to explore interesting events happening around the city.

According to the Singapore-based telco, the more Discover is used, the smarter it gets in recommending events that users are most likely to go to. This new feature, which is personalised based on the interests of individuals is available for everyone, including users who are not Circles.Life’s mobile customers.

It is optimised for local events in Singapore, enabling users to explore trending events in the country, customises the event suggestions based on the users’ interests and allows users to share the events on social media, and invite their friends.

“Circles.Life is setting up the world’s most personalized digital platform leveraging its innovative telco stack and proprietary data platform,” said Rameez Ansar, the co-founder of Circles.Life.

“Two years after the launch of what is now the leading no-contract mobile service in Singapore, we are taking a step further. Discover is the first AI-powered product outside our core mobile service. It is available for ALL users inside the Circles.Life app!”

Last month, in an attempt to get consumers to re-evaluate the value of a mobile contract and challenge the assumption that it always saves them money, Circles.Life explained to The Drum why it used the country’s favourite food, chicken rice, to prove its point.

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10 questions with… Carter Murray, chief executive of FCB

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The Drum speaks to people across the global media and marketing sector who are bringing something a little different to the industry and talks to them about what little insights they can offer the rest of us. This week's 10 Questions are answered by FCB chief executive, Carter Murray.

What was your first ever job?

My first ever job was cleaning boats. My first proper, steady job, however, was as an assistant account executive at Leo Burnett Chicago.

Which industry buzzword annoys you most?

“Guru” (as in “marketing guru”). Most people called gurus actually are not. And this misnomer often causes havoc within client organizations and the creative process more generally.

Who would you most love to share a coffee with?

My mother and father. I lost them both two years ago, within six months of each other, and still miss them terribly.

Highlight of your career (so far?)

The first was getting to work with Harry MacAuslan, THE gentleman of advertising (now retired) and the second was persuading Susan Credle to come to FCB and be my creative partner.

What piece of tech can you not live without?

Sadly (and my wife will very much attest to this) – it's my bloody telephone.

What is (in your opinion) the greatest film/album/book of your life?

Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay. I read it when I was thirteen and it absolutely got to me. I loved the boxing, wildlife, Africa and personal narratives, but most of all, the constant reminder to “think first with your head and then with your heart.”

What one question do you never want anyone to ask you?

Why are you so obsessed with dim sum?

Best advice you ever heard or received?

Shut up and listen.

What do you still want to achieve in your career?

Balance.

What industry event is most important to you to attend and why?

Cannes. It saves me multiple trips around the world, as everyone is centralized there, and I get to talk about our industry with some of the most groundbreaking work all around us, to inspire and push us to always do better. It’s always long and busy work hours, but it all happens in a ridiculously civilized setting.

Check out other interviews as part of the 10 Questions With… series.

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