Avios: ‘Don’t take years on building single customer view, take big data action now’

Festival of Marketing 2013: Travel rewards programme Avios’ head of insight and analytics Adrian Hado has advised brands to “be wary” of lengthy IT projects to implement a single customer view of the data they hold on customers and should instead prioritise taking action with what they do have “now”.


Speaking at Jump, part of the Marketing Week and Econsultancy Festival of Marketing, in London today (9 October), Hado said most companies can take advantage of the data they currently have existing on “alright” systems – rather than opting to wait “years” in order to put it in one place “to get it perfect”.

He added: “Do we really need to wait extra years to get to one data set? Or do you go now? Be nimble, create action. Don’t worry about putting it all in one place to get it perfect, just get moving.”

Once companies have found their data sources – even if they are not all in the same place – Hado said the next step to creating an effective big data programme is to recruit data analysts that are not only good with statistics, but are effective communicators.

Hado recalled a philosophy course he once took when he was asked the question: “If you can’t communicate, is it knowledge?”. He answered no at the time and said the same applies when it comes to communicating insights to the marketing director, finance director and CEO.

He added: “You need to be able to influence people, algorithms are great but an algorithm won’t tell you what your strategy should be in China.

“Big data starts with the boardroom, if the boardroom doesn’t see the value in what you’re doing – it will be difficult. You need to sell that in – and data scientists are not necessarily experts at that.”

During his presentation, Hado revealed that 10 per cent of Avios’ value is driven by just 10,000 customers. Last year it sent its top customers a bespoke Lonely Planet travel guide – an exercise the finance department deemed expensive at the outset but in-turn boosted loyalty and warmth towards the brand even further among the target group identified using a big data solution, Hado said.

Avios is looking to grow its insight and analytics team early next year and is hoping to attract senior consultants, particularly as it looks to solve the challenge of linking social media data and sentiment with its wider customer databases.

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