DMA digested: Our key takeaways from the Singapore conference

The inaugural DMA (Data | Marketing | Analytics) conference in Singapore saw 120 attendees take a dive deep into data issues affecting the marketing industry. Here’s a wrap-up of the day’s key takeaways.

From left: Travis Teo and Ranji David
From left: Travis Teo and Ranji David

The ROI roadblocks of data

World Federation of Advertisers marketing director Ranji David shared insights from the organisation’s recent market survey, highlighting the three roadblocks to ROI when it comes to data.

  • Media attribution: “The lack of effective attribution for media, especially digital.”
  • Aligned metrics: “Alignment on metrics that drive business and are acceptable to agencies.”
  • Data: “Incomplete data insights”, “inconsistency and data transparency”, “cost of acquiring data.”

However, Travis Teo, IMC director at SAP shared that there’s also a fourth roadblock: the marketer’s own capabilities.

Marketers don’t need to know about the entire backend of the data infrastructure, but they do need to know how to use the tools, mine the data and pull it all together for actionable insights. Many organisations don’t have those skill sets in place internally, and there is a need for head marketers to be familiar enough with the data to have a conversation with both the C-suite and sales functions.

Vanity metrics and not crossing the ‘creepy’ line

Jamshed Wadia, head of digital marketing & media, Asia Pacific and Japan at Intel Corporation noted that all metrics afforded by social and digital platforms can be considered “vanity metrics” if they do not ultimately align with the business’ objectives.

It’s the lazy way of marketing to just try and capture everyone. The genesis of the problem has been these platforms offer a string of behavioral metrics, but if you use behavioral metrics in isolation without it measuring a marketing or business objective then that’s when it becomes a vanity metric

He also advocated the incorporation of attitudinal measures as a counterpoint, to ensure that with higher social engagement, that marketing messages have also been received.

Janice Chan, senior director of digital marketing for Starwood Asia Pacific said it remains difficult to bridge social media engagement with conversion.

“We’re still grappling with that and I don’t think anyone has really got it right yet,” she added.

But lessons have already been learnt by the hotel brand about what works best when it comes to social media outreach.

“We know that giving away free hotel rooms and buffets won’t get them coming back. You’ll get a lot of teenagers who love free stuff but they won’t book a room at the St Regis,” she added. “So we’ve stopped doing that and now focused on delivering real information and value to engage our guests, that makes the difference.”

It’s not that there is a lack of data to work with, but rather the challenge lies in connecting the dots and once that happens, how to not “creep out” consumers.

Given all the data we have now as brand, we can be extremely targeted. We all know that there’s a fine line between personalisation and being creepy but I believe there’s still a lot of value in delivering personalised messaging. We have to execute in a way that you feel welcomed without wondering why we know so much about you, then that’s great service.

Data still needs a story

Getting an organisation to become more data-centric and selling the value of data hinges upon how well the story is presented to stakeholders.

“The data will provide a few points but we still need the experience of the company to create content and wrap a story around it,” said Christian Bartens, managing director of Datalicious. “That’s more important than providing another five appendices at the end of a report.”

Bartens added it’s also about how you communicate the insights gleaned, and how you present and ensure the information is taken into account.

When we produce insights for our clients, we think ‘this is amazing, we’re sure everyone’s going to jump on it’. Nope, fat chance. You have to send it to five people, three times before they open and read it. You almost have to have a communications plan as part of your insights stack.

First data rule? First party data rules

Damien Crittenden, director insights and analysis at Xaxis, called the data-driven audience aspect of programmatic a game-changer as first party data enables better understanding of audiences beyond a simplistic level such as age and gender, and look at purchasing intent and behaviour.

He also stressed that programmatic technology did not have to be a complicated subject for marketers.

The DMP (data management platform) is little more than a very large database. That’s how we should be thinking about it. It is not that complicated. People can often get obsessed with the data and the technology, but what is most important is not to lose site of the consumer and the consumer journey.

Get real: How real-time data transformed Tour de France coverage

Praveen Sengar, director digital practice, Dimenson Data, outlined how the firm used data to transform media coverage of the Tour de France.

It is one of the most prestigious races in the world and we wanted to transform coverage, beyond just online coverage. We realised we needed to get real-time race information and a platform to showcase it.

They created a mobile command centre housed in a truck, which followed the race and captured real-time individual rider tracking through devices on the bikes and relay it immediately to media partners.

“The engagement levels on social media were tremendous, even when we released just the raw data, say, around the speed of when a crash happened,” he said. “Our data also got picked up by riders and their teams who shared it, and also by commentators, such as when we could show how and when speeds increased or decreased.”

He said social media engagement increased 11-fold across the event, which was a key objective of the race organisers.

Concerns going beyond privacy to relevance

Consumers are increasingly sensitive about their data, privacy and what they expect from brands, according to a panel of industry experts – and brands that abuse consumer trust do so at their peril.

Anna Bory, general manager of marketing at Audi, said as a consumer she demanded a seamless experience wherever she was, and this was the principle underpinning Audi’s strategy.

“We have built our own CRM portal to track every customer interaction and capture it at the back end,” she said. “Everybody can then access this at any time to understand the interaction we have had with that consumer."

When it comes to privacy, however, S. Pranathari Haran, regional head south east Asia at SAP hybris, argued many consumers were more concerned about relevancy.

There is a lot of talk about people being sensitive around their data. But we did a survey to see if people would be willing to share basic data, and surprisingly for us 65 percent said they would be. However, only 30 percent said most of the messaging or promotions they receive is relevant to them. This should be a wake-up call because these people are willing to receiving information.

Meanwhile Adrian Man, head of data audience partnerships APAC and North America, said there was a fine line between privacy to personalisation, arguing it is beneficial to give consumers ultimate control over what they see.

“We prefer to go from privacy to individualisation,” he said. “From a solution standpoint, we give control to the consumer. You can say ‘why am I seeing this ad’ and do something about it.”

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