e4m MarTech Fridays: Data has to be a subset of your business strategy: Experts
Industry leaders deliberated on how organizations can create a strong data-driven culture
Data-driven marketing was the main talking point at the latest webinar of e4m’s series ‘MarTech Fridays.’ Panellists Pankaj Gupta, Sr.EVP (Sales) & CMO, HDFC Life; Sujatha V Kumar, Head of Marketing (India & South Asia), VISA; Sagar Boke, Head Marketing, Food Business, Tata Consumer Products; Tarika Soni, Head of Commercial Strategy & Ad Monetization Snapchat Inc; Swita Charanasomboon, Marketing Director, APAC, Taboola; and Archana Sinha, Senior Director Marketing, Salesforce discussed the topic ‘Data-Driven Marketing Mindset’. The session chair for the webinar was Vishal Chinchankar, Chief Digital Officer, Madison World.
The panellists touched on topics like the objectives for which marketers rely on data and analytics; marketing activities where data and consumer insights can help marketers; the various ways organizations can assess their ROI and how companies can create a strong data-driven culture.
The virtual discussion kicked off with Charanasomboon sharing what it really took for companies to create strong data-driven cultures: “Taboola being a publisher and a native advertising platform data is really our bread and butter. To create a data-driven culture it starts from the top. Internally, we really measure everything. No actions get approved without data to back it up. Everything is measured from the basics of business like ROI business metrics to the HR functions get measured by data. Externally, we have brands that always stay with us because of our data reliability. It is something that is driven from the top and in our DNA.”
Soni sided with Charanasomboon point of view: “At Snapchat, we are a data-heavy advertising platform like any other tech giants. Data is scientific whereas everyone has the right of an opinion. When you go into an advertising world, it is so skewed towards data driving. A lot of my exercises are myth-busting exercises where I talk to gamers or FMCG partners, saying ‘I know you are targeting a 35+ (year-old) for a reason but open your horizon a little more. Maybe test someone who’s 25 or 35 years old, expanding their horizon.’ Advertisers have learned that what they understand about their audience is one thing but data speaks louder.”
On Snapchat, Charanasomboon says that they are actually building cohorts of data sets based on actuality because pictures don't lie. She adds, “When taking a picture of Mexican food outside a Mexican restaurant we believe the consumer is actually a Mexican fan.”
Kumar stated that in the BFSI sector, it is very critical to have a data-driven approach. “We have seen with more and more campaigns that when we have data-driven personalization, the ROI in marketing is higher. However, it is very important to balance that with understanding what your consumer insights are. In marketing, we use to do a lot more generic, above the line advertising and now we are seeing the merits of data-driven. At VISA we actually have a learning and upskilling portal called VISA University and we have data-driven marketing from grades 1 to 10. So people can upskill themselves”, she remarked.
Gupta noted that when one looks at the Life insurance industry, the business of getting customers is for the long term. He adds, “The way data works is it permeates all operating mechanisms. Data starts from even before the customer is acquired. We get to know what customer segment to go after and how we communicate with them, which offer should we approach them with. From a marketing perspective, data becomes critical for decision making. We decide on regional language strategy. Each state requires a different communication. We need to know the trends. Almost 90% of our decision making is based on data. There is a certain percentage of subjectivity. It comes down to creative differences or a risk approach.”
Giving a creative perspective, Soni commented, “We have dedicated data science teams in the house that are built from the ground up. We will actually run blinded case studies internally which are first party-driven and externally through third parties.”
Boke said that it all stems from the company’s culture. He shared, “We need to focus on two things: the first is to commit and show there are going to be benefits on spending money in the funnel for data. That’s when people will start buying it. Secondly, investing in educating your team. It has to happen upwards and downwards. Data has to be a subset of your business strategy. If you look at Tata Salt light, we're looking at a sharp audience and that's where data plays a significant role. I think the numbers and results speak for themselves. Digital has a big role to play when we start with small and steady steps.”
Sinha sharing an example from Salesforce said, “We use our own product called 'Sales Cloud' to setup campaigns and monitor success by activity. We use 'Marketing Cloud' and 'Datorama' to understand insights and discussions on ROI. The 'Salesforce DMP' helps determine audience segments for suppression and personalization. The *'Dynamic Email Engine' allows our customers to choose their adventure with Salesforce, instead of pushing what we think is relevant to our audience.”
Talking about human learning versus machine learning, Kumar pointed out that we really need to look at content. She shared, “In VISA, credit card communication content and the right insights to put across are somethings we look at.”
Charanasomboon said, “In the programmatic space, we're a few years away from Machine Learning being democratized. Right now, we're in a hybrid situation, leaning more towards data.”
Sharing their concluding thoughts, Sinha remarked, “Engage customers at the right moment with the right message through personalized marketing. By knowing what the consumer wants, you can actually exceed expectations by serving them what they want. This comes through a data-driven mindset.”
Kumar stated that we shouldn’t get overwhelmed with data. She commented, “Having so many filters that you finally end up with a small subset and you lose the larger picture, which is to understand the consumer insight to develop the right content.”
Gupta said that having a data-driven mindset is a must today if we have not already done it. He pointed out that we must leave some room for human intuition to play the final role.
Charanasomboon, sharing her final thoughts, said, “Have a data hypothesis-driven approach so that you know your customer more than anyone else. Use data as an additional aspect to know how to connect with your consumer.”
Soni concluded the session by saying, “Tracking is important. Relying too much on data may be harmful but not tracking is equally harmful so keep checks.”For more updates, be socially connected with us on
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