How data is transforming marketing

I suspect, like me, that you have had less time than you would have liked to read this year.

One of the things I have managed to read, was the recent global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Study conducted by Ogilvy & Mather client, IBM.

I found the insights fascinating and relevant, and thought I would share some of them with you.

What’s keeping marketers awake at night?

According to the 15 000 top executives interviewed in the CMO study, the external factors most likely to be giving CMO’s sleepless nights were all market and technology related. This is hardly surprising: These factors are already driving massive change and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

What was worth noting was that of the CMOs who anticipated these challenges, only half felt equipped to handle them.

This, I believe, echoes the apprehension many of us feel as we face the challenges of building brands in an increasingly complex world.

The key challenge – and opportunity – in my mind, is the increasing importance of DATA in the marketing mix.

Sexy Little Numbers

 If anything is about to transform the way marketing works, it’s this four letter word: “DATA.”

Though businesses have always had a fair idea of who their customers are, and what they need, data has the ability to build meaningful individual relationships and generate new insights about consumers like never before.

Mark Pritchard, P&G’s Global Brand Building Officer, expressed this sentiment very succinctly in his new vision for his company: “Our vision is to build brands through lifelong, one-to-one conversations with individuals and the communities in which they’re active.”

Pritchard is not alone: Multinationals, from automotive to FMCG, are publically estimating that 15% to 20% of their budget will be dedicated to the more ‘Direct’ approaches of digital and social within five years – a figure corroborated by Duke University Fuqua School of Business in a recent report.

Information into actionable insight

As much as data has exploded, so has our capacity to turn it into actionable insight. Data and analytics have become “bottom of the pyramid applications”, allowing us to make mass-customisation of our marketing possible. Businesses now have the means to understand customers based on real-time behaviour and then interact with them as individuals.

Where traditional campaigns peak consumer’s interest in a brand, only to see it wane once the campaign is done, the new wealth of data allows us to create campaigns that instead build ongoing consumer relationships. And it is only a matter of time, before one-to-one channels outweigh the reach of mass media.

Locally, more than one million unique users participated in our “Carling Black Label Be the Coach” campaign. That’s almost half the brand’s core user base. This potential for one-to-one communication not only changes the cycle of consumer communications. It allows us to demystify marketing’s ROI and make the impact of any marketing investment apparent through real-time measurement and refinement.

A bold step towards enduring customer relationships

A year ago, Ogilvy & Mather SA launched Social@Ogilvy, a worldwide practice that builds on our existing social media, communications, CRM, sales enablement and shopper-marketing expertise, to help our clients create social solutions that capitalise on this burgeoning trend.

On Friday, February 1, we launched OgilvyOne Worldwide, South Africa – our Data and CRM offering, which according to Forrester Research Inc, is already a trailblazer “because of its high level of competence across all major criteria – specifically measurement and analytics, account management, and social and emerging media.” High praise we have every intention of living up to. We have understood that data is the key link between social, digital and mobile and must thread seamlessly through them all, and we are ready with some of the best minds in this area to service this opportunity.

If you’d like to know more about OgilvyOne Worldwide and its potential applications for your business, please let me know.

Also, have a look at getting a copy of Sexy Little Numbers – a book by Dimitri Maex, the Managing Director of OgilvyOne Worldwide in New York and the engine behind the agencies global analytics practice. It’s a simple and straightforward guide to growing your business with the data you already have.