Interview: The “power” of data in a new marketing age
1. In this day and age, the combination of "data" and "technology" has produced significant success. So, what is the experience of using this "power"?
It is a brilliant combination, indeed. Data becomes valuable as technology turns it into actionable information for businesses. Technologies such as data analytics and business intelligence are redefining the way companies do business. They are not only helping companies refine their business strategy but also helping them make better and quicker decisions. Today, companies can leverage data and technology to predict customer behaviour and provide improved customer experience. Not only that, some companies are using it to come up with new products/services and business models.
2. Most organisations understand the value of data. But how important is it today in the modern marketing industry? Could you please clarify about this?
Data is the foundation of modern marketing. Modern marketing is based on a data-first approach in the entire lifecycle - right from planning to execution. Using data, companies can derive important insights that concern consumer behaviour and preferences. By understanding their customers through data sharing and analytics, companies can personalise their marketing efforts to achieve higher ROI and gain customers' attention and loyalty. Besides, through insights from website cookies and click-through rate (CTR), marketers can follow customers from their initial interest to purchase. With the proliferation of social media channels today, marketers can determine which channels work best for their customers by leveraging the power of data.
3. How has the process of making use of data in marketing developed? How is the current development level of it in the world and in Vietnam today?
Big data became a popular buzzword for marketers in the mid-2000s. However, a major thing that has changed is the amount of data. Marketers now have massive amounts of data and by 2025, it is forecasted that over 150 trillion gigabytes of data will require analysis. In the past, the type of consumer data that marketers collected came from sales transactions, direct mail campaigns and coupon redemption. Now, the majority of data comes from online – such as online purchases, click-through rates, searching behaviour, social media actions and geolocation. The change in type of data affected marketing strategies as marketers now have access to more detailed information of their target audience. With the infiltration of data, marketers today use big data to derive accurate insights about the types of content and messaging that are effective for their target audience.
In Vietnam, we can expect to see more exciting digital trends emerging in their marketing sector. According to a Vietnam mobile ecosystem and digital sizing report by MMA and Group M, the Vietnamese market is going from mobile first to smartphone first. With consumers using their smartphones for a variety of activities like shopping, gaming and streaming online videos, I foresee more opportunities for marketers to leverage data from these channels and reach out to the country's savvy smartphone users.
4. Most businesses own more databases than they can exploit and understand. What is the reason behind this situation?
There is a common belief that "having more is better". Hence, we see businesses owning much more data and relying too much on it. There is also something called "InfoObesity", when marketers overconsume massive amounts of data, which can quickly become unwieldy, dysfunctional and overall does more to confuse than to provide insights.
To help marketers overcome limitations on data sharing, Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) released the first comprehensive list of data sharing policies for many of the largest digital/mobile media platforms. Such a guide helps to better guide the use of data technology and ensure marketers enjoy a smooth experience while leveraging data.
5. However, the data is not quite a good storyteller. Each data tells a very unique and sometimes contradictory story. How to find the right story from the existing database?
The key to using data as a storyteller is making use of existing data wisely. There needs to be an efficient data-management structure to create meaningful applications from data. For example, marketers can analyse details like the unique behaviour patterns of their customers and then re-gather existing data to perform retargeting. Through effective data analysis and management, marketers can understand what kinds of customers are the most profitable and then evaluate their targeted marketing efforts.
To help marketers in securing, organising and managing quality data, MMA released the MTA (Multi-Touch Attribution Solutions) Data Strategy Guide. The guide helps teams to learn about the data asset types and relational structures and the MTA data planning process.
6. Technology is the key to harness the "power" of data more effectively. What do you think about this statement?
As mentioned previously, technology helps turn data into actionable information for businesses. Technology also helps to manage the large data sets that are growing at a fast pace every year, which would not be possible manually. Technology helps analyse data trends, provides useful insights, builds solutions for data management, integrates data from online and offline channels and much more. With technology, data can become meaningful and useful for markets and businesses to improve on their offerings and models.
7. Specifically, are there any trends in technology application in effectively exploiting data in the field of marketing?
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are significant trends. AI provides advanced tracking and analytics capabilities, enabling marketers to make smarter decisions and acquiring new customers. Advances in machine learning allow for an infinite number of datapoints to be analysed quickly and efficiently and automating repeatable tasks. Marketers these days are adopting machine learning to have a better understanding of the impact of different touchpoints of individual shoppers and audience segments. One of the key examples is the increased usage of chatbots in marketing.
8. Kindly give some typical examples of effective technology applications in collecting, managing, exploiting customer data to find the right "insight" and implement brand marketing campaigns.
Using big data analytics, marketers can increase customer acquisition and retention. Businesses use big data to observe customer behaviour, related patterns and trends. Through understanding behavioural insights of customers, businesses implement strategies that drive customer retention. They can also deliver more personalised messages that target the right audience through the right channels by understanding their behaviour. One example is Coca-Cola, which strengthened its data strategy by building a digital-led loyalty programme. Data from their customers is helping them create more relevant content for different audiences.
9. What are some recommendations when conducting marketing activities based on data analysis in combination with current emerging technologies?
Emerging technologies like AI and video marketing can enhance marketing strategies. However, I recommend marketers to be practical and test it on a small scale before rolling it out. While tech like AI provides more advanced analytics capabilities, marketers need to use it wisely. Avoid overly relying on such emerging technologies. For example, it is advisable not to use AI to analyse massive amounts of data that make no impact to their target audience and marketing activities, or worse, are irrelevant to their business. If the data is irrelevant, marketers shouldn"t analyse it in the first place. The key for marketers is to use data analytics and emerging technologies wisely.
10. Is there a negative impact on technology-based data marketing due to the fact that it is so personalized and insightful that it's annoying because of the track record? (If yes), how to avoid this problem?
It can create feelings of vulnerability among consumers, especially when they divulge personal and financial information to companies that track consumer behaviours and gain insights of their behaviours. They may also be afraid that their personal information may be misused, stolen or compromised as well. Such feelings of vulnerability may cause them to falsify their information or spread negative sentiments about a certain brand. To address this, companies need to be transparent of how they are making use of data from their consumers. They should also highlight clear privacy policies and ensure consumers there are no loopholes in them. Please refer to the response for Question 12 for more information.
11. How to effectively exploit data for marketing campaigns but still ensure user privacy?
In order to effectively exploit data for marketing campaigns without forgoing user privacy, marketing companies should approach the matter consciously, providing increased transparency and ensure that the use of more sensitive information is regulated with moderation. Those who collect potentially sensitive data, such as location tracking, should be upfront with consumers by clearly communicating what is being collected when and for what purpose. This will also help to build trust between marketers and consumers.
They can also put in place data protection measures, such as controlling the access to data after it's been gathered, or pseudonymization. This involves processing the data collected in such a way that it can't be linked to a specific data subject without extra information.
12. Besides, how can businesses/marketers build user trust in the current increasingly personalized marketing era thanks to data?
Companies can do so by being more transparent and accountable about the data that they collect from consumers, and provide their customers with control over their personal data. They can also offer additional value to consumers, incentivising them to share their data more willingly. By doing so, these companies are more likely to gain consumers' trust in the long run. On top of this, businesses and marketers can also improve targeting, and more importantly customer experience.
13. Finally, what do you predict about the future of data marketing trends? Some tips for capturing this future?
An upcoming data marketing trend is the use of data storytelling, which involves an increase in interactive and visual content in data marketing, since 91% of consumers prefer these types of content over static media.
Another trend is marketing personalisation, which involves knowing consumers' needs and anticipating their future ones. Personalisation can lead to things like increased loyalty and increased revenue, benefiting businesses greatly.
AI is emerging as a trend that will definitely impact the future of data marketing. Many agencies have invested in AI and machine learning tools in recent years, and Gartner predicts that by the year 2024, artificial intelligence identification of emotions will influence over half of the online advertisements consumers see.
In addition, we see blockchain emerging as a trend. Companies are leveraging blockchain technology in media and digital advertising.