Steve Lowell, director of data and insights at Konica Minolta Marketing Services (KMMS), said he feels marketers have a rough time in this day and age. He said that ultimately, marketing is about making a series of decisions, with the quality of the outcome directly correlated to those decisions.
However, he said it is harder than ever to make those decisions due to several factors, including the abundance of information marketers have access to. Lowell mentioned that the number of people globally with access to the internet, as well as the number of active social media users. Those figures are 4.4 billion and 2.7 billion respectively.
To exemplify this proliferation of data, Lowell said that when he first started out in the data industry almost two decades ago, the first database that he helped to build had two million customer rows.
“We were dining out on that for six to 12 months,” he added. In contrast, now the databases that he is helping to build have records and updates for 50 million rows on a weekly basis.
Another factor that makes marketing decision-making harder is the tighter regulatory environment which makes it “more difficult to process data than ever before,” according to Lowell. Despite this, he welcomes GDPR and sees it as a good thing.
So Lowell said although paradoxically we’ve got more data than we’ve ever had before, it is more difficult than ever to use and drive value from that data, this is a challenge that can be turned into an opportunity.
He presented the case study of working with Harvey Nichols, the luxury chain of department stores, the leadership team of which was looking at what customer centricity meant for the brand.
Lowell said: “The brief was ‘we need to understand who our customers are, who they should be and can we align our business to attract and retain those customers’.”
KMMS first looked at customer segmentation. The agency received rich customer data from Harvey Nichols, which looked at in-store behaviour, products purchased, frequency and value of purchases.
The marketing company coupled that with its own Interact product which has an overall view of the UK population including “people’s lifestyles, their needs, their attitudes, their wants.” As a result,
Lowell said that KMMS created a 360-degree view of the Harvey Nichols customers with a clear view of the different types of shopper.
The agency then held a workshop with senior executives of Harvey Nichols to review the segments, the customer base and the actions that needed to be taken. Lowell said: “There was a lot of interesting discussion about where the market was and whether they were attracting the right type of customers versus where the market is.”
The output of this workshop was a “framework structures around four key areas.” Those areas are communications and marketing; service, experience and brand loyalty; culture and decision making, and lastly operations.
Lowell said that ultimately, marketing is about reaching the customers, who don’t think about brands in terms of the channels through which they have communicated but about the entire message. “The concept here is about finding the individual and reaching them through a multitude of channels. All of the work we do with clients around this suggests you get a real amplification by contacting one individual through a range of channels.”
Steve Lowell was speaking at ‘How to turn your data into delighted customers’ hosted by KMMS and Inidicia.