“The key issue is not how we collect the data, but how we obtain useful data – useful data is data that helps your customers. It enables you to have a conversation with customers,” said Winnifred Knight, of consultancy Cube (On the Square), South Africa, and a direct marketing veteran of 45 years.
She was speaking at the DMAi Convention 2013 hosted by the Direct Marketing Association of India, currently underway in Mumbai (4 and 5 June).
“Do you have a data custodian in the company?” she questioned the audience largely comprised of direct marketing specialists and marketers.
Knight underlined the need to interpret the data collected accurately. But before that, she cautioned against excesses in data collection, leading to clutter.
“If the intent is to purely send an e-mail or SMS, why do you clutter the database with stuff that you cannot use? Why do you need the physical address and other details? Understand what use you need to put the data to before you get into the collection exercise. This might seem very obvious but it’s amazing to see people going all over,” she said.
Making the point that consumer behaviour is changing rapidly, Knight explained why buying and selling behaviour may not give the exact picture of the consumer: “Scratch away the big data and see who you’re talking to. Have a centralised view of who I am (the consumer is).”
Surmising her talk with the message that marketers needed to understand individual consumers and respect them, she said, “I am not two cars, or three houses - I am one person.”
The internet ‘showroom’
“Internet is one of the largest showrooms for business today,” said Manish Vij, founder, Smile Vun Group, quickly clarifying that he was not referring to e-commerce.
He explained that the buying behaviour amongst digital media buyers has shifted from ‘Give me X number of clicks’ 10 to 15 years ago, to targeted buying with the advent of options like real time bidding. This has been facilitated by the advent of display ad exchanges, he said.
“The returns on targeted media versus non-targeted media are a multiple of 2X or 3X,” added Vij, who presented the digital media specialist’s perspective on day one of the data-driven direct marketing convention.