Is data-led personalisation enough? Brands who don’t | NTT DATA

Wed, 28 March 2018

Is data-led personalisation enough?

Brands who don’t forget the importance of ‘art’ alongside ‘science’ win customer hearts

Over the past decade, the business-customer relationship has been transformed by ‘big data’. Industry articles regularly remind us of the impact data-led personalisation has on our lives, highlighting increased customer expectations as a result. Others argue that customers are beginning to rebel against targeted content as it feels ‘created simply to get you to buy’, and instead crave simple, genuine creativity in marketing again. NTT DATA believes that the most successful brands will recognise the duel importance of harnessing both the ‘art’ and the ‘science’ in driving customer engagement.

The ‘science’

In a recent report from AxiCom, Jed Mole, European Marketing Director, reiterated that while creativity still matters, “mastering data and technology is essential in ensuring brands identify, understand, connect and resonate with real people today”. Perhaps unsurprisingly in a world of big data, 81% of consumers consider the relevance of an offer’s content to be an important factor in whether it is redeemed. With businesses vying for customer engagement in clogged letter boxes, inboxes and social feeds, those who leverage their data to send customers relevant and personalised communications have the best chance to establish stronger connections with their customers and stand out from the crowd. Netflix, Spotify and Amazon lead the way in this space with personalised product recommendations, but all businesses should appreciate the value of their customer data in driving one-to-one, relevant customer dialogue more than ever before.

The ‘art’

However, while data and technology have made insight-led marketing a reality for many large and small firms, they have also changed the way marketers perform their jobs, putting creativity and independent thought at risk. HSBC’s former head of marketing in EMEA Philip Mehl argued that brands today primarily compete on how well they can target consumers, rather than on the quality of their ideas.[4] Consumers are beginning to change how they react to marketing and want genuine, interesting content rather than something that has been blatantly created with the intention of making them buy.

Characters such as the Smash Martians, Yellow Pages’ JR Hartley and the PG Tips chimps are cult icons of the pre-Internet advertising days and were amongst those most remembered by UK consumers in a poll of 2,000 people, according to the report from AxiCom. Such ads worked because of the emotional connection they provoked – something that is more relevant than ever today, as brands attempt to fight through the noise of over-messaging and automated content to emotionally connect with their customers.

Brands should not forget the power and importance of creativity, the ‘art’ in eliciting strong emotional connections, and can even use the ‘science’ to inform it. Pret A Manger’s now instantly recognisable green ‘Veggie’ shop was based on a surge in popularity of healthy and ‘clean’ products in their stores. Spotify closed out 2016 with a hilarious and witty campaign based on its very own listeners’ usage data, posting digital & physical ads in 11 different countries with some serious ringers including: “Dear person who played “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day, What did you do?”. Spotify subscriptions met a record high upon their release in December 2016.

While the age of the “big splash” ads may be largely over, NTT DATA recognises the importance of fusing data-driven customer targeting (the ‘science’) with ‘good old fashioned’ creativity (the ‘art’) in a digitised world. Providing an integrated customer offering across all touch points, NTT DATA provides data-driven digital transformation at scale, but with the creative ‘spark’ that drives an emotional connection provided by leveraging their in-house user experience agency, RMA Consulting, to deliver compelling customer experiences.

Morell, Liz (July 2015) Classic ads shows great creative is still key - but data is increasingly important. Marketing Tech
Morell, Liz (July 2015) Classic ads shows great creative is still key - but data is increasingly important. Marketing Tech
Eagle Eye research (December 2017) Personalisation is booming, but how can we go beyond a name? The Drum
Bacon, Jonathan (March 2017) The future of creativity in an automated world. Marketing Week
Morell, Liz (July 2015) Classic ads shows great creative is still key - but data is increasingly important. Marketing Tech


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