How to do more with your data to fuel business growth
Good data analysis is at the heart of effective strategic planning – but what’s holding marketers back? Two top FMCG insights leads discussed the biggest challenges at the Festival of Marketing
At the height of the Covid-19 crisis in May, Salesforce asked around 150 UK marketers about how they use data, what their main challenges and priorities were, and their goals for improvement over the next 12 months. Respondents were also quizzed on the top three factors holding them back from using data successfully, with data mismanagement, unification and execution listed as the most pressing concerns.
As Jonathan Beeston, Salesforce Datorama’s EMEA product marketing director, told delegates at the Festival of Marketing: “Data mismanagement is a broad concept around how data is handled, how it’s integrated, how it's connected with other data sources, which is a really difficult and big challenge, especially when it becomes hard to use that data in real time.”
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watch ‘Tuning the data engine: How to do more with your data to fuel business growth’ at the Festival of Marketing on demand
Find out more about how to use data to drive growth. Watch Salesforce Datorama’s session, ‘Tuning the data engine: How to do more with your data to fuel business growth’, at the Festival of Marketing on demand now.
He added: “Marketers are then finding it difficult to use that data effectively in a visual way, to inform campaign optimisation and marketing activity.”
When it comes to their priorities, he said: “The top answers were around better understanding and engaging customers and optimising marketing spend. And that doesn't always mean spending the same amount of money. In fact, I think these days,
that means spending less money, but doing it more effectively and with precision, and then really driving revenue and campaign KPI performance, while also ensuring that customer experiences are resonating.”
Speaking during the same Festival panel session, Nomad Foods’ growth strategy and insight director, Nick Steel, acknowledged that many businesses are on a “data journey”, and to be as effective as possible at utilising its multiple strands of data the FMCG company is looking to bolster its internal capabilities.
“More and more, we're trying to do this stuff internally, so we’re actually looking at bringing data scientists into the business to complement what we already do and bring new insights to bear. So It's not just about the people we've got today within our traditional commercial functions, but how do we build more technical capability in data management. And that means working a lot more with people like those in IT functions, data engineers and data scientists, and using different tools and techniques to get better beyond traditional ways of working, which might be just directly asking for analysis from agencies. So it’s more people working with more data, but hopefully in a simpler way,” said Steel.
Transforming analytics into actionable insights is where data adds incremental value, Steel added, but recognising where the gaps are can be the biggest issue.
“You need to understand what is the question that you're trying to answer and be able to translate that through to technical people, then put it into something that's actionable and meaningful for the business. So the role of the storyteller within the business is crucially important, because there's no point having all of this capability in automation if you can't tell the story to the decision-makers in the business, to help them understand what's going on and what it really means for us all,” he confirmed.
As Catherine Haigh, insight controller at Premier Foods, echoed this, saying that shaping data in the most meaningful way will ensure it’s fit for purpose. “You need to make sure you're focusing on the big stuff that's going to shift the needle for the business, because we can all go down rabbit holes thinking certain things are interesting, when actually, there are limited resources within a business,” she warned.
“So let's work out what are the big questions we really need to focus on. Then it’s about having the right people around you - the right agency partners, for example - and continuing to push and ask questions about what’s possible. There are so many applications of machine learning that we still don't really know about all the ways it would apply, especially in FMCG. So we need to ask questions and have a curious team to unlock those new solutions and opportunities.”■