Magazine article Marketing

Forward Thinking Essays 2012: Relationship Marketing, Tash Whitmey EHS 4D, Data, but Not as We Knew It

Magazine article Marketing

Forward Thinking Essays 2012: Relationship Marketing, Tash Whitmey EHS 4D, Data, but Not as We Knew It

Article excerpt

This year companies will need a clear plan to unleash the potential latent in their data - to ensure that it both inspires engaging creative work and enables real-time conversations with customers.

Data. There, I've said it: long the Cinderella by the fire, while the creative goes to the ball.

They say that oil and water don't mix, and this has long been true for data and creative, being such different beasts. They are rarely mentioned in the same breath, room, or even agency, come to that, and are almost guaranteed to cause the eyes of many marketing people to glaze over. That has to change.

Data has long been the preserve of a brand's IT department or technologically focused suppliers that simply don't have it in their DNA to really understand people, let alone the ability to plan and create compelling and engaging conversations with them.

Similarly, many creative agencies, above and below the infamous line, don't have the technical and analytical skills to truly understand data and gain the insights that should be inspiring their work.

Silos are crumbling - an ad agency won the Direct Agency of the Year category at Cannes last year and is undoubtedly capable of designing the odd email and 'blasting' it in the way they have interrupted consumers for decades.

Many direct agencies are on top of digital channels and are producing TV spots and banner ads, calling themselves integrated. Increasingly, this means nothing without a single customer view built on data.

Traditional digital agencies have always produced direct communications, but are rarely sufficiently strategically driven to cut it with the marketing director, so are becoming increasingly put in a niche as production companies.

We are awash with data, both old-school customer data and, increasingly, the wealth of information generated from every new-school digital touchpoint: social-media likes, Twitter mentions, click-through rates and product-interest indicators from ecommerce browsing.

This data can and should inspire strategic insights, propensity models and behavioural segmentations. Customers don't want to be sold to, but will happily immerse themselves in a bespoke experience that informs, entertains and maybe even recommends as part of an experiential conversation, one that is driven by data. …

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