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Big data survival guide

1. Set clear objectives for using data 

One of the biggest pitfalls that businesses can fall into is not having a concrete idea or a misinformed idea of who it is they are targeting. A lack of comprehension can often lead to a messy, untargeted sporadic approach. This method means customers are not engaged with in any meaningful way and that the brand’s message and offering is ultimately lost under the weight of mismanaged data and tactical communications.

2. Pull together different strands of customer data 

Both the old-school customer type and, increasingly, the wealth of information generated from every new-school digital touch-point. Brands, however, need to do more than just collect this data; they need to be able to organise, analyse and derive insights from it. They also need the capability to react to the insights, in real-time.

3. Create a single customer view 

Big data is the ability to source, gather, organise and analyse data that can be attached in some way to an individual. Behind raw data are human beings who exhibit definite individual attributes and behaviours; brands can use this plethora of information to draw their customers closer and drive value through engagement, utility, loyalty and product extension. 

These conversations should, however, have a purpose beyond customer engagement. They should be implemented with a keen eye towards driving sales and maximising a business” bottom line. This will be facilitated by an intricate understanding of the consumer and their purchasing behaviours. This understanding is best generated from through an the idea of a Single Customer View. By focusing the business” attention on the details of the type of customer that they are dealing with, the offering can be streamlined. 

4. Ensure understanding of data transcends from the top down 

The usefulness of data is recognised at a senior and global level but there is often still a massive gap between the knowledge of senior management and middle managers. This can be down to lack of resources and training. Responsibility for data is often arranged into silos within a business structure, and other departments may not have a strong understanding of their company’s data view or how it can impact their effectiveness. A data driven approach must trickle down from senior level and that data must be understood by all departments to have positive implications for every aspect of a business.

5. Break down the siloed creative and data 

Data can and should inspire strategic insights, propensity models and behavioural segmentations. And ultimately this data should give the right food to let the right the right creative grow to reflect the desires and aspirations of consumers. Consumers expect their interaction with a brand to demonstrate understanding of their needs and adapt to them. This can be done only if creative is driven in real-time by data, and that can happen only if the data is there and ?knows who it is talking to?. To do this, key stakeholders from IT, brand marketing and creative agencies need to start talking to each other and formulating roadmaps and plans of action.

Tash Whitmey is CEO of Havas EHS, the leading UK digitally-driven creative agency.

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