A Holistic Data Ecosystem

30 May 2016|Added Value

What exactly do people mean when they talk about Big Data? What is ‘big’ about it? Is it the volume and complexity of information and the difficulty of using it? The number of sources and velocity of which it’s created? Or the high hopes people have for Big Data driving business growth and customer loyalty?

It’s actually all of the above. However the promised riches are struggling to materialise. As a Marketing Executive points out “We need proactive partners to guide us to valuable insights by helping us understand our multiple data sources, the underlying metrics, and what it all means. My team cannot get there on their own today.”  Millward Brown Digital “Getting Digital Right” 2015 Study.

We freely admit – the data ecosystem is pretty tricky to navigate. Demographics, behaviour, media reach, messaging, loyalty programmes, e-commerce, point of sale, cookies, geo demographics, brand affinity, transactional information, mapping, population movement, social media, preferences… the list goes on.

As much data exists as human behaviour exists, but like humans, it can be messy, complicated, and not particularly easy to manage.

We know the theory: harnessing data will lead to better, faster and more actionable intelligence. But putting this into practice is proving difficult. A major contributing factor is the disparity of data which is creating a sizeable challenge in connecting data for meaningful insight and activation.

A legacy of systems responsible for different metrics and objectives, collecting only the relevant information in a format which suits that particular purpose, and rarely talking to one another has created silos. This friction stops people: stops them creating, sharing, collaborating, and using data – especially among more distributed communities. This leads to the oft quoted mantra that the voice of the customer is being lost in the process.

Brands need to connect meaningfully with customers, beyond the core product or service being delivered. There is growing evidence that consumers are not shy about their data being used, but want it to be used in ways that will benefit them. Marketers need to develop a view of the whole person and deliver a better experience to them. Integrating disparate datasets can be the answer to building this view. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

So how can marketers bring together the most relevant data available that enables them to make smarter, faster, strategic decisions that drive growth and customer loyalty all the time? Added Value are developing approaches which aim to do just this by bringing together the most relevant data available to provide clients with an always on, integrated data ecosystem.

Take a target consumer segment, or typology. Often defined by attitudes and beliefs, typologies can be notoriously hard to activate against. However with an integrated holistic data ecosystem, there is the opportunity to find this target segment in purchase databases to learn more about their behaviour and inform retail strategy; in media databases to understand how to reach them; in social media channels to understand how to connect with them; and in CRM databases to drive LTV.
By looking beyond someone’s role as a “consumer” or “shopper” or “user” we can build a holistic view of who they are, what they do, why, and where to reach them. The result? Insight to inspire better, more actionable solutions that not only make sense of today but anticipate tomorrow.

Effective strategy and activation that delivers meaningful engagement across all touchpoints, informed by whole human understanding of the target’s lives.

As Nina Bibby, Marketing & Consumer Director at O2, said: “It’s easy for marketers to overestimate the role their product or service plays in people’s lives. To engage customers you need to seek a way to be meaningful to them beyond your core product or service.”

Big data doesn’t naturally equal big bottom line. The real value in big data comes from combining all these elements to deliver something great for clients and customers. Building a holistic data ecosystem that enables a business to take more real-time, actionable insights is the new challenge for the marketing and insight community. We need to move away from big by volume, to big by value.

Want to learn more? Contact us.

Article written by Francesca Baker, Insight Project Director, Added Value UK and Amelia Gandar, Vice President Quantitative, Added Value NY

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