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Event report: Data at the Core of Digital Excellence

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Today’s consumers are online 24/7 and connected through smartphones, wearables, voice assistants and even cars. These advancements fragmentize the customer journey, meaning our target audience is being confronted with thousands of touchpoints before making a decision. The need to really get to know your (potential) customers is even bigger than before. Data is key, but how to transform it into actionable insights?

Fueling digital activities with data doesn’t mean that processes will become more efficient, campaigns smarter and value is brought to your business. Data adds complexity and will only be effective if it’s an integral and reciprocal part of every level within your organization: operational, tactical and strategic.

During the metapeople Benelux opening event “Data at the Core of Digital Excellence” we discussed our learnings, successes and future view on incorporating and effectuating data at the core of our clients’ businesses, both locally and internationally. Six speakers from four different countries shared best-practices on how to integrate a data-driven approach in all ranks and services of your organisation, being it through campaigns, channels or real-time insights. On behalf of metapeople Benelux our content specialist Nicole Schalkwijk has summarized the key elements of each presentation.

Marketing in the age of assistance – Google (Kate Adams)

Nowadays we want to get things done fast, smart and simple. A search query isn’t just about inspiration anymore, but to drive an action. Kate Adams from Google mentioned in her presentation that digital marketing thrives on conversation between a brand and their potential client. Therefore an experience with a brand needs to fit in seamlessly with their needs and has to be anticipated by the brand. The way of questioning a search engine is changing: from short to-the-point keywords to entire sentences with specific topics. Voice Search is evolving: around 20% of searches are done by voice (measured on Android systems in the US). And it will become even bigger! Half of the searches will be voice (or image) driven by 2020.

Later on the day, a Google Home demo was given by our group CIO Kristoffer Ewald. It showed us a future of a world where assistant devices like Google Home will have a central role in our households.

The role of Artificial Intelligence is getting bigger, as we need to learn to trust even more on the capabilities of machine learning. These smart systems help us find behavioural patterns about our users and piece them together to a story that helps us being smarter marketers. For example: time of day, search intent, locations or app category can say a lot about your client and pieced together they can make a ‘real’ persona for your brand.

Why connecting the physical and digital world isn’t an option – 4Ps (Matthew Phelan)

Many decisionmakers in board rooms have a financial background. They tend to use historical financial data to steer their organisation. They look to the past. When, in fact, we have to anticipate on the future. Matthew Phelan emphasized the pace of change is faster than ever. Children grow up using voice assistants and worry when Alexa or Siri doesn’t answer straight away.

The boards of today want to hear about their customers, so digital marketers need show them what they are doing and back up their story with data. Matthew even pointed out that searching for a smaller problem, resolving it and get that story across to the decisionmakers will help to make the board understand your work.

Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion – W. Edwards Deming, Data Scientist.

It’s hard to connect data, because in many cases it isn’t holistic but stored in different silos. But when you combine your data and create a story, you can create a frictionless customer service and make strategic decisions. Key – listen! Each company is different and has its own characteristics and needs.

Programmatic Display as the crucial element for the TUI launch – Netbooster France (Emmanuel Arendarczyk)

Emmanuel showed us a case study where data of many different travel brands was merged to support a successful relaunch of the TUI brand. Netbooster combined insights on several website audiences – like SuneoClub all-inclusive or RIU Hotels & Resorts – and their CRM databases to adjust PPC bids accordingly, set realistic KPIs and pre-define scenario’s in display campaigns. The goal was to keep the same volume of sales and even acquire new audiences during the (re)launch. They achieved this by expanding the reach by driving first place positions and use smart bidding and their knowledge of the customers in the following steps.

Emmanuel emphasized that display was in fact a big part of this campaign, because it can still be important when it comes to engagement. But only if you keep it creative and use different messages for every persona. The use of mobile in combination with digital outdoor campaigns can also drive people to stores by giving your costumers what they need at the right time.

Making ROPO work: How to increase store visits through smart online marketing – metapeople Germany (Julius Ewig)

Julius showed us how online efforts can also drive customers to physical shops (Research online, purchase offline). Shop visits keep declining across many retail sectors. But how can an online marketer help reduce that decline? For example by showing local inventory ads to connect offline and online for a user on a local level. This, combined with increasing visibility on non-branded keywords on mobile, blurs the lines between digital and physical for customers. They know for sure they can find what they are looking for at the nearby shop.

Julius stated that the market can be really restricted when it comes to using data and privacy laws. Therefore this case was tested in a predefined test region and measured via Google Store Visits, which is based on the geolocation of the store and the device that was used for the online research.

Closing takeaways

  • Knowledge is power and data beats having an opinion, but knowledge beats data! Because data without context and a story isn’t useful for anyone.
  • Don’t focus too much on data from the past. But focus on the now and try to predict what will happen in the future.
  • Business isn’t done in the known 30 day cookie window. It’s about what will happen in ten years from now. Build relationships with your marketing.
  • Provide accurate information (smart), make your website load fast (speed, strive for around 2 seconds loading time) and be seen (be present on all formats and know your inventory/flow online and offline).
  • Use your creativity. Not only in your marketing, but also in finding a solution to problems that your data shows.