Trust is an obsession among marketers. Ensuring that customers build and maintain their trust in a brand sits at the heart of what marketers practice, at least in their public statements. Whether that is truly their goal could be doubted, however. Certainly, it is questionable whether it wins out against competing corporate demands that may insist products are forced on customers, whether they like, want or trust them. Take the example of personal protection insurance. Superficially, PPI was a trust-based product, offering to shield a customer against the worst that can happen. It was marketed on the basis that the brand was looking after its customers and they could therefore trust the product. As we now know, none of that was true - few who needed it ever got a payout and now the...
Commercial success shouldn’t be defined by the size of data, regardless of a company’s ability to crunch it. The hunger for data within the industry is creating digital landfills of information that will never surface. The problem is that, although buying and storing data is cheap and easy, creating a strategy for improving businesses with new data is more of a challenge. Companies need to ask themselves, what is more beneficial for their bottom line - big data or better data?   The following tips can help brands get smarter about their data projects. Focus on business strategy The first step when approaching a big data project is to consider the strategy of the business: the aim of the project, the obstacles it faces, how and when the success of it can be measured...
It’s not that often a regulator does something to encourage more use of data, rather than less. Yet that is what should have happened in the wake of Ofgem’s insistence in February that the six biggest energy suppliers should make stronger efforts to repay over £400 million they hold in over-payments from former customers. It’s an eye-watering sum and should mean the suppression data marketplace is now booming. Help is certainly needed to re-ignite use of goneaway and deceased files - a market which DataIQ research in 2012 identified as relatively static at around £18.4 million. Despite the best efforts and innovations by suppression data owners, it has been difficult to drive new adoption and improve data hygiene standards. That much is obvious from what...
Most companies who pitch their products and services at a consumer audience will already understand and see the value in customer segmentation. In fact, most of these companies will already be doing it in some form or another. Segmentation in the offline world has traditionally been based on factors such as location, buying behavior and, to some extent, how they use different channels. It has enabled brands to view their customers in distinct categories and shape their marketing based on those categories.  These days, however, the online environment has added a new layer of complexity. It isn’t just about the fact that consumers are interacting with brands across a range of new channels (and devices for accessing them) – it’s also about the way they interact with...
Have you been in a meeting recently when someone has mentioned Google’s Hummingbird update and wondered when they became twitchers? I have and, although Hummingbird has been referenced a lot by marketing types, nobody has given me a definitive answer about what it actually is or what it means for me.  So in the name of TWOP, I took my size 6s to the source: Google’s London offices, to understand more about what Hummingbird means for anyone wanting to have visibility online. Before I begin, do something for me: grab your smartphone, activate voice search, and ask, “where is the Eiffel Tower?” Your phone, with the help of Google, will do a speedy search and then respond perfectly to your question. Next, ask your phone, “how tall is it?” (not...
Primordial gravitational waves have been detected by scientists from Harvard-Smithsonian working at the South Pole.  If their evidence is accepted, it provides proof of the Big Bang and support for Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. That is big science at work and it is based on big data. It also offers an insight into how commercial data users need to approach the new data streams that are becoming available and points to one significant hole (black or otherwise) in their approach. Immediately after the explosion that created the universe, everything in it expanded rapidly in a process the astro-physicists call inflation. Waves of energy became converted into the microwaves that have been detected using the BICEP telescope (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic...
Artificial Intelligence (AI) are the words on everyone’s lips right now. Amazon has been testing drones for deliveries, Facebook has hired an AI guru and now Google has acquired London AI firm DeepMind.  While AI has long been the topic of science fiction films and the subject of scientists’ and engineers’ experiments, it has only recently become a mainstream news topic.  It used to be that intelligent humans would do the thinking and create a machine to help us with the heavy lifting. Now it seems that it works the other way round - machines do the thinking and we are freed to engage in more creative endeavours. Consider SatNav: it tells us the best way to go, we decide where it will take us. Computers tell us which stocks to buy, help the Mars Curiosity...
Nostalgia washed over me the other evening. A speaker at the DataIQ Financial Services reception was running through the history of data management technologies. On screen he showed a data centre from the 1970s - you know the sort of thing, all big boxes with blinking lights and a man in a white coat carrying a huge magnetic tape reel. It was a scene my father knew well during his 30-year career working for NCR. In the early 70s, companies were just starting to adopt data management to help support their businesses and turned to a handful of mainframe vendors to supply the technology. Slow and cumbersome as the processes may seem now, they were cutting edge at the time. As a boy, my interests four decades ago were simpler, like railway modelling. I was busy making trackside buildings...
What do Coca-Cola and McDonalds have in common with Samsung and Intel? All four are in the top ten of global brands as defined by Interbrand in its annual report. Look again at the list and you realise they also all lead on the appeal and quality of their products. Customers are not at the heart of these businesses (which is not to say they are not thought about, only that the core focus is on what the company creates, not how its consumers behave.) You could argue that this simply reflects the nature of the survey and that brands are by definition about products. But if you are a business leader, would you rather become the best at managing your customers or establish yourself as one of the top global brands in your category? Most CEOs would not even recognise that as a valid question...
The majority of marketers believe they are making sufficient use of data. However, according to a recent Forbes study, only 10 per cent managed more than half of their marketing using big data, highlighting Dan Ariely of Duke University’s idea that, “big data is like teen sex - everybody is talking about it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.”  The majority of marketers believe they are making sufficient use of data. However, according to a recent Forbes study, only 10 per cent managed more than half of their marketing using big data, highlighting Dan Ariely of Duke University’s idea that, “big data is like teen sex - everybody is talking about it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone...