Data must underpin your creative genius

Data underlines almost everything we do. Or rather, if we structure and operate our business departments and personnel in the right way, then data can be a benefit and fuel every percentage point of growth.

Marketing departments should never lose the instinct for the big idea. The brand essence that is universally understood by your managers, your staff and your customers alike often originates with some brave, snap decisions or intuitive creative that came from deep in your gut.

But what underpins all that – and sometimes more importantly, what convinces your stakeholders to back you – is the customer data that you should hold dear.

Your database contains the richest of insights into the needs of your customers. If you can spot those needs and meet them before your customers have even had a chance to figure out and articulate their own desires, then you’ll be fulfilling marketing’s limitless potential to grow a business through adding value.

Those of you that already possess the right data and the system that works best for your business are way ahead. Look at our top stories this week. All of them champion the best use of data. News International has promoted Katie Vanneck-Smith – who has been managing its customer relationships through its customer direct division since March last year – to the role of CMO. In April, Vanneck-Smith said News International was focusing on “super-serving” its most valuable customers – a notion that makes sense as the publisher continues to erect a paywall strategy to monetise its online properties. This promotion points to a more of the same and a greater focus on loyalty and customer retention.

“Those of you that already possess the right data and the system that works best for your business are way ahead”

That Sir Terry Leahy built his Tesco success on, among other things, superb use of data across the business will be news to nobody but if Everything Everywhere, as our third story suggests, can make equally good use of its huge database then that will be of some note.

However, many marketers complain that there is “too much” data on hand, especially when the likes of social media and ever-evolving digital channels are taken into account.

That is why we are launching a new monthly section called Data Strategy, edited by David Reed. The highlights this month include David’s article on the importance of keeping clean, fresh data, his Marketing By Numbers piece on media owners and The Agenda, which looks at the value of online influencers. I think there will be many more highlights to come.

Mark Choueke, editor

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