“I’m sure it’s no surprise that we need to be data-driven,” says Carmen Vicelich, Data Insight founder and chief executive officer, as she takes to the stage at DI Day, by Data Insight.
“The most valuable brands in the world are all built on data – they all leverage data and technology to deliver seamless customer experiences – and that’s why they are what they are. It’s not because of products, it’s because of how they action data and the experience they create and that’s the driving force of being data-driven.”
This was the inaugural DI Day and it was born out of Data Insight’s recognition that all the learnings they’ve had over the years are appropriate for all clients. Joining Data Insight on stage was a group of its clients, who shared their experiences of transforming their organisations to being data-driven.
To sum it up the lessons to be learned, Vicelich had four points:
- People are the path to execution
- Doing actionable insights
- Harness technology – don’t just invest in it
- Make sure you never stop starting
With data-driven organisations the hot topic, one might expect data would be the key to success but Vicelich is quick to point out that it’s actually all about the people.
Why? Because the data comes from people, and everything you do with it is for the people.
“Everything is for people and the more you think ‘what is the problem we are solving and who am I solving it for?’ The better you will solve it,” she says. “The data and technology are just the tools to do that.”
It was to this point Cassie Roma, head of content marketing at The Warehouse Group, pointed out that behind the data and analytics there are humans behind the screens.
Those humans are more connected than ever and with this comes an expectation that they want everything here and now.
To explain, she calls kids these days “the blue dot generation” because they have never had to navigate a map.
Unlike previous generations that are familiar with identifying points on a map before figuring out a path to connect them, their phones will do it for them using a flashing blue dot to represent their location.
“You are the centre of the universe. You don’t need a map, the universe comes to you,” Roma said.
On the topic of people, not only are customers important, so too are an organisation’s stakeholders, and the ones who will be doing the work to turn data into insights.
Vicelich says the people in your organisation need to have a mindset to embrace data overcome the possible discomfort that comes with it.
This is a point ASB has taken in its approach to data.
Rachel Harrison, its head of analytics and insights, says its focus is on delivering value by solving problems, it works with the stakeholders to make sure the insight is being actioned.
“We have lots of people saying, we have these problems – can you help us with those?’ We always focus on who is going to use it and what is the value for them.”
Meanwhile, over at Foodstuffs, it’s also been making moves to let data inform its path forward.
Emily Blumenthal, head of CX strategy and data intelligence, says when she started with the organisation eight years ago, it was drowning in data but there was little insight being drawn from it.
Given its long history, Blumenthal says the decision-making process was very intuitive and while that had been working, new disruptors in the field meant it had to change.
“The business reached the tipping point – we weren’t going to survive unless we start to listen to the data and become increasingly customer orientated.”
Now, she says the conversation has shifted to one that’s less about ‘I know best’ and more about ‘let’s get some insights’. But while it’s a positive step forward, it has come with the challenge of trying to find a balance between the art and data.
“Sometimes I wonder if sometimes we have gone too far and when we lean too heavily into the insights and data and away from the art. We are trying to find that balance,” she says.
And Blumenthal wasn’t the only one to identify a challenge in this area.
That point of art is important says Roma, who in her presentation discussed the amount of content vying for our attention.
In 1965, there were 884 minutes of content for every minute of human life. Today, there are 3,000 minutes, meaning that for every minute we watch, there are 2999 minutes that go unwatched.
“Right now, there is so much content – too much to consume,” Roma says.
Differentiating content and earning some attention is value, and Roma says we value less anything that delivers less value
“We have so many opportunities to push content out that we think we need to fill all the spaces, but really we need to focus on where the value lies and what matters the most.”
To help with this, Roma advises being aware of when your brand should and should not be jumping on a social trend.
Using the example of a brand trying to figure out how to utilise flossing (the 2018 dance trend) through the use of their influencers to sell a banking app, she says not every social trend is suitable for all.
“Extrapolate out all the numbers and insights you want, but use your common sense – the gut is an important tool for understanding humanity.”
Don’t set and forget
Underpinning an organisation’s data journey is technology and when it comes to implementing it, Vicelich says the approach should to be about harnessing technology, rather than investing in it.
Given the pace of change, she says organisations can’t be setting and forgetting their technology and need to make sure they harness what’s available to get the best insights.
On this, she points out there is more data to come.
“A while ago, Facebook wasn’t around and LinkedIn wasn’t around – more data is coming, so don’t build this database where you can’t add anything.”
On top of this, customer needs change and what they need one year, might not be the same as the next so brands need to be ready to evolve their approach.
You have to start somewhere
Taking an always-on approach and being agile may sound like a nightmare for data practitioners who like everything to be clean and perfect but Vicelich says inadequate data is better than no data.
She explains using the example of her team being tasked with creating a segmentation model in four hours for a client wanting to respond to a competitor’s offer.
While one response could have gone out to all, some segmentation was better than none and it’s those first steps that kick off a brand’s transformation journey.
“Was it perfect? No,” Vicelich says. But the team were still about to draw insights and learnings for going forward.
“Some is better than none. Your gut is great but data is better.”
- To accelerate your Data Transformation journey book a workshop with Data Insight here and let’s get our teams together.