Brands shift focus to data in pursuit of market gain

Leading brands O2, ITV, Heinz and Three are investing in data initiatives and expertise in an effort to improve return on investment during the tough economic climate.

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Telecoms company O2 is creating a “business intelligence” team to centralise data collected from its different divisions and use it to inform marketing and NPD.

Meanwhile, ITV is looking to develop a customer data strategy to analyse information such as the 3 million e-mail addresses it has collected from people who view ITV’s content online. It will use it to inform ITV Player and ITV.com’s future development.

ITV says it believes “ownership and utilisation” of customer data will be a source of “competitive advantage” in the future.

Elsewhere, Heinz has hired Brand Learning account director as director of strategy and insight, while mobile operator Three has created a new role, director of base marketing, to lead analysis of existing customer data.

The developments follow a recent IBM survey that found the CMO’s role will become more data-focused. More than two-thirds of marketers questioned say they expect to invest more extensively in new tools and technologies to develop new strategies for analysing “big data”.

The government has also recognised the importance of data utilisation through its midata initiative. It is being developed by the department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and major brands such as British Gas, Lloyds Banking Group and Google, and will allow consumers instant digital access to the information brands hold on them for marketing purposes. It is expected to go live next year.

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