is the head of solutions and innovation at Dunnhumby USA
. At the AOP Summit
on 12 October he’ll bring lessons from the worlds of retail and FMCG brands to the session on how publishers can capture, integrate and use consumer data to refine and develop their products.
Here he talks about the issues facing companies trying to make better use of their data.
For more detail / book your place now
What are the biggest problems companies face when trying to integrate data about the consumer?
There are plenty of technical data integration challenges, but the main stumbling block that few companies have overcome is how to turn the data into valuable and sustainable insight about the consumer / subscriber.
Why is the insight piece so hard?
Most companies don’t have a strategic approach for insight. Instead it is often a lower level support role in each business unit. Even when a single insight group is invested in, it can be approached in an analysis-first way, not a consumer-first way. For instance, the group may have many smart insight people or PhDs doing clever work but even though each project makes sense, they are not solving the same puzzle and nothing adds up for the consumer experience.
How can these issues be overcome?
The organization challenge is really a strategic choice. Does the business want to put the consumer first and use a consistent view of the consumer to drive and measure its decisions and progress? The insight leadership challenge is about the right talent. It’s a senior role and needs to lead across the business. It’s less about analytical fire-power and “how do we solve this puzzle” but more about what “puzzle are we solving?”.
Is digital changing how companies should address this?
Yes, and in a few different ways! It is creating a greater demand on personalization across the SoLoMo world which means insights and execution need to be at an individual level not just a segment level, and it also means very rapid or even real-time solutions. The Big Data explosion from digital also creates opportunities to build bridges between what were previously separate islands of data. For instance it is now possible to blend media exposure data with offline shopping behavior data to enable better targeting and measurement solutions.
Do you have any examples of media organisations using data well?
There are certainly pockets of good practice. I see some who manage their internal consumer data well, others beginning to bridge their data with external data assets to drive new insights and measurement … but a very few doing both. The way I see it there is still generally a culture of treating subscribers/consumers as an audience or “asset to sweat”. This often means the data and insight sit within the sales organization and are used with the advertiser, rather than for the benefit of the subscriber which ultimately can lead to irrelevant content and irrelevant ads.