Data: The power to transform brands into icons

By Felicia Nwosu

Marketing has experienced a revolutionary shift over the past few years through the power and impact of data. No doubt, data has helped to reshape global marketing practice. Data indeed, is impacting how advertisement is bought, customer relationships are managed and promotional messages are orchestrated across a multitude of channels.

According to Jonathan C. Margulies, Managing Director, Winterberry Group, data has gone main-stream. The emergence of big data has now ushered in a slew of new practices, such as programmatic media buying, granular audience segmentation and targeted, real-time trigger marketing that would otherwise be untenable without a constant stream of information on consumer audiences and their interactions.

With every brand being “data-driven” in both theory and action, there is an urgent need for businesses to carve out meaningful competitive differentiation through the use of information.

Brands need to begin to think out-of-the-box what room exists for real commercial advantage. Everyone in the marketing ecosystem is advancing from the novice to expert stages of their respective data maturities, especially for practitioners aiming to make informed   choices about the datasets, technology platforms and internal business processes that are most appropriate for supporting their next-generation marketing strategies.

For Otis Ojeikhoa, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Brands Optimal, the importance of data to brands and companies cannot be over-emphasised. According to him, data makes it much easier for company  to know whom  their customers are and how they prefer to interact with the brand, by  providing  insight into preferences and spending patterns as well as  helps draw critical distinctions between those consumers who are “in market” versus those just browsing across the vast terrestrial and digital storefront.

He stated that information plays a crucial role for people and for companies, as their survival in the highly competitive environment depends on possessing the right information at the right time. Companies must have information concerning their customers, products, environment and themselves also.

In his words: “Data analysis is very core in the IMC industry and in everything that we do. Data is life, you will continue to find data because it is not stored, it is liquid, it flows, it changes and evolves. Gathering data will help you to create empirical elements that will help you decide whom your audiences are, and then you will be able to create solution that will resonate with any of them.”

While proffering solutions on how brands can leverage data for unique competitive advantage, Mr. Otis agreed that indeed, people, organizations, and machines now produce massive amounts of data. To maintain a competitive advantage therefore, organisations have to be smarter and more creative in resource management.

He maintained that, as data continues to democratize by growing in both volume and velocity, and as the tools used to support its application grow simpler, less expensive and more actionable, its importance is only likely to grow as a driver of virtually all marketing, advertising and media interactions.

The digital expert said: “We use data to understand more about our customers. In the past, there was this preconceived notion of what our customers do, but now we are able to test and learn against our theories instead of relying on mere assumptions.”

Emphasizing further, he said: “What is true about data today may not be completely true about it tomorrow; for example, age. So you will always need fresh, informed data that will be able to give you fresh and informed insights to help create new ideas.”

“For a brand to have a competitive advantage over its competitors,  it must learn to  extract  data meaningfully and act on it accurately, to help it become  more targeted while it still gets good results no matter how small its budget is,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Jude Odia, Managing Director, Starcom Media Perspectives, charged media agencies to embrace the use of data as it is no longer restricted to any particular field. He noted that product management is now using data for better marketing strategies, improving customer experience, and also to understand business trends.

He suggested that the use of data will be helpful for media agencies in proving the value that marketing brings to the table, referring to where historic data will be tracked and used for long-term basis.

He mentioned that the increasing amount of data in the rapidly expanding technological world of today makes the analysis easier and visible for all to see as media managers use it to achieve immense competitive advantage.

According to him, as the pressure on marketing spend becomes more critical, both from clients or eco-system players, then the quest for measureable and accountable media will become much more on the front-burner.

He noted that more than ever before, this era is calling media agencies to the real task of proving the value that marketing brings to the table. He argued that agencies have not been able to scientifically prove the value of marketing in the mix, in terms of business.

His words: “Marketing seems more like art that people cannot measure, and that makes us first hit, once there is pressure on the revenue. With data, we need to show the value that ATL/BTL brings to the table if there is a professional application of marketing within a long period of time.”

Odia also observed that the insights gathered from user data is now a major tool for the decision-makers, and therefore called on marketers to begin to acknowledge the importance of data as it will help to bring value in both intrinsic and extrinsic value over time, because data is positioned to drive both differentiation and real-world performance.


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