Sophie Chen
Nov 26, 2013

Data and analytics are integral to marketing strategy: Sparkline

SINGAPORE – Sparkline, a web and mobile data analytics start-up, recently launched in Singapore. Managing partner and co-founder Aleetza Senn spoke to Campaign Asia-Pacific about the company’s approach, the data challenges businesses face and sector opportunities in Singapore.

Aleetza Senn
Aleetza Senn

What's your take on the buzzword “big data”?

Data isn’t new, but the size and speed at which we can obtain data is. Big data is characterised by complexity, velocity and volume, which makes its capture, analysis and extraction of actionable insights quite difficult, without the required skills to manage it.

Big data done right—collected, analysed quickly, insights extracted, and actions deployed—can yield very substantial benefits for businesses.

Your company talks about a 360-degree analysis strategy. What does that mean?

While most analytics companies focus on the technology, we see analytics as part of the business. We start from understanding business needs and objectives to auditing their existing technology to make sure it reflects the business needs, analysing and delivering the key business insights that are necessary for success, as well as testing and iterating new insights that can move businesses forward with methods such as A/B testing, lifetime customer value, etc.

How are you helping clients build a single view of the customer across all digital touch points?

We use technologies that work on behaviours across devices (browsers, mobile phones, social activity, etc.), such as Universal Analytics from Google, or the Adobe Marketing Cloud suite. We also work with big data technologies, such as Google BigQuery or Hadoop, where we can bring siloed data sets together, make sense of it all and present it to clients in a unified ‘single view’ way.

How receptive are business and industry leaders to becoming data-driven in their thinking?

As our world becomes increasingly digitised, the size and scale of data is going to get more complex. Data analysis as a competitive differentiator is becoming more widely accepted. At the forefront are online businesses, already comfortable with working in a data world. The offline businesses are beginning to think more about how data can support their business.

If results-driven marketing is so powerful, why aren't all clients doing it?

There are a number of reasons. It’s a fairly new field. Most organisations aren’t internally organised with data as a key business element. Additionally, most firms don’t have the internal capabilities to make the most of data marketing. 

But the learning curve is rising fast. More and more companies are asking their marketing teams where the money is going, and how it’s delivering to the business. The smart marketers see what data analytics can do, and are fast adopting it into their approach.

Do you see clients allocating sufficient budgets and investments into analytics, such as the services provided by analytics companies like yours?

Every company is at a different stage of development in its understanding of and approach to analytics. Our approach for clients that are less familiar with data is to identify a manageable and (over time) scalable approach. Start with a defined manner, such as marketing data only, rather than an entire data set across every element. Then improve that and add other data elements along the way.

I would however caution any company taking a wait-and-see approach that by the time they start figuring it out, it may already be too late. Their competitors could be several years ahead of them, and that is a large gap to close.

As the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore aims to develop Singapore into a regional data and analytics hub, how can companies take advantage of it?

Singapore has done a good job over the years setting industry policy, such as technology and financial services, attracting foreign investment with infrastructure designed to make doing business much easier than in many other countries.

On the technology side, there have been startup funds available for a few years now. The recent announcement of S$1.2 billion (US$959.1million) in infocomm technology investment and a commitment to train 2,500 analytics professionals by the end of 2017 are encouraging, specifically around the potential returns for data and analytics.

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