Data is an increasingly important topic of discussion and as data specialists, us Yardies try to get out as much as we can to hear other thoughts on how data is changing the landscape of marketing and information technology.
We went along to Standard Life House on Wednesday evening to an event hosted by MBN Solutions on ‘Discovering the true Customer Journey’ to hear talks from Mary Harper and Stephen Ingledew, both from Digital Marketing at Standard Life, as well as Paul Forrest of MBN Solutions.
First up, Stephen Ingledew of Standard Life kicked off talking about the ‘revolutionary times’ ahead when it comes to data and their customers, highlighting that more than ever it is the customers who are driving change and for them it is all about the experience.
Stephen explained that in order to understand their customers’ needs Standard Life have to be efficient with the data provided and deliver this through insights and understanding behaviours. The key to success was in getting under the skin of real-time customer data analytics and using these insights.
One other point that Stephen discussed that is common within the world of digital, is the continuing evolution of the relationships between the marketing and IT departments. With so much to be drawn from the data available, there are no ends to the collaborative opportunities within Standard Life
Next up was Paul Forrest who started off by telling us that the average digital consumer consumes over 60 hours of digital content per week. Even with this amount of engagement, he believes that there are still huge gaps in customer understanding and behaviour.
Having so much Big Data can be a powerful thing, but one thing that Paul stressed was that no matter how much information you have it is important not to be tempted to bastardise this data into giving you the answers you want. The trick is to understand exactly what it is you are using your data for and always remember that truth counts. Mining through this data can be time consuming but where Big Data can help is by being quantitative and qualitative.
Paul’s parting shot should ease the fears of all the strategists in marketing, as he stressed that no matter how much data we have from online behaviours, we also need humans, we need to engage with them and understand not just their online behaviour but also what drives them on their customer journey and we can only do that by talking to and understanding them.
Finally Mary Harpers took the stage, telling us that customers are self-servicing their own financial needs when it comes to digital and that, at the heart of it, digital is Standard Life’s direct business where opportunities are boundless if they are understood. All of this self-servicing data can be utilised by the collaboration of the marketing and IT departments – one with its understanding of customer personas and the other delivering the data insights.
Mary then discussed Standard Life’s main principal when it comes to quantifying all this data – ‘Digital First’. 90% of all consumers search and engage online before any action is taken which takes us back to understanding the self-servicing behaviour. Mary also highlighted what she believes is a key aspect of the future of digital and that is real time automation, having instant data and responses is what consumers want.
For me as a marketer, the best piece of Mary’s insights (also addressed by Paul) was that no matter how much data you have at your fingertips, if you don’t engage with consumers in a real life one-to-one scenario, then you might be missing that one thing that makes the consumer a customer. A great event – take a look at this video by MBN Solutions filmed on the evening.
-Gerry Campbell, Client Relations Director, Yard