Digital Analytics and Optimisation: An interview with a superstar DJ
With Adobe Summit EMEA fast approaching, I took time out for a discussion with one of the repeat presenters in the Personalisation & Optimisation track – Giles Richardson, Head of Analytics at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) – about what he’s been involved with over the last year and what we can expect from his sessions at this year’s event.
Jamie: So Giles it’s been a busy year for you – I understand that you were a finalist in the recent Digital Analytics Association Awards – can you tell us about the nomination and how you got on?
Giles: Yes that’s right – I was nominated in the category for the work we’ve been doing to revolutionise the way that RBS think about optimisation from an organisational perspective. Over the last year, my team and I have been able help shift the way in which the organisation approaches data-driven optimisation. We’d shown some dramatic improvements through some data-driven proofs of concept, but we needed some creative thinking to make sure that the business bought in to the concept.
Jamie: So what was the answer?
Giles: Well, we launched a program at called ‘Superstar DJs’. Instead of keeping analytics and test and learn tools among a select group of analysts, we decided to distribute this to 50 digital ‘Journey managers’ who between them manage the whole digital experience. Building on a flexible analytics implementation via a tag management system each Journey manager has live dashboards showing exactly what was going on in their area. This allows the marketer to see which part of the digital journey creates a struggle for customers, and also allows them to set up a test to see if they can resolve it. Most importantly, they are trained and supported to do this themselves.
Jamie: Why did you decide to call the program Superstar DJs?
Giles: The name came about because we used the theme of a top DJ feeling connected to the audience he was playing to, and gauging what they needed. He would experiment with new content and instantly see if it was going down well. If it wasn’t he would change it almost instantly. He was cognitive that audiences change depending on where they come from and over time. Most importantly he had the tools and the skill to do it all himself. Now we have 50 Superstar DJs who enjoyed the fun of the program, the music, the crazy updates, the billboard charts, the gold disk awards and the bank execs getting involved with tests. So much so in fact, that they barely noticed they were changing their way of working forever.
Jamie: And can you talk about some of the results you’ve seen from this work?
Giles: I’m really pleased to be able to share the results — the program allowed RBS to go from three optimisation tests in the first nine months of 2014, to sevnty by end of year, have fifty plus people working on it as an integral part of their day job, and generated over £1m already in extra revenue. Perhaps more importantly, we’ve moved away from the firework approach and now we only change something when it is seem to be a struggle for a customer, we measure if it fixed it and if not it gets backed out and we don’t celebrate launches – only customer impacts.
Jamie: This sounds really interesting Giles – I hope after all this you’re going to be covering some of the Superstar DJ work in your session at Summit? What can people expect?
Giles: Well in Session PO9 “Creating your optimisation superhero team“ on Wednesday 30th April, I’m going to be participating in an interactive session with Kevin Lindsay, the Director of Product Marketing for Adobe Target. We’re going to be going over the four fundamental things that each of the attendees should be addressing if they want to get their company to sit up and take note of the optimisation team and its goals. I don’t want to say too much about the format of the session but attendees should expect engaging content and also the chance to discuss with their peers in an open environment, some of the issues they are facing and also to get some answers to some of these optimisation challenges. I should mention that I’m also speaking in another session at Summit…
Jamie: That’s right, your session on analytics-driven optimisation was so popular last year that we’ve got you back for two sessions this year! Do you consider these breakouts and evolution of what you talked about last year?
Giles: Absolutely and I’m really looking forward to it. I enjoy presenting but I also find Summit a great opportunity to meet with other digital marketers and discuss challenges and opportunities that we’re all facing. As well as the session we’ve just been talking about, in PO9 “Diamonds in the rough: Powering up the machine to find your marketing gems”, I’m going to be covering an extension of this program involving automated personalisation and machine learning – where we’re letting Adobe Target Premium use the data to make some of decisions for us.
Jamie: Thanks Giles – so I’m expecting sessions PO7 and PO9 to be very popular. This is the first year that we’ve introduced pre-registration for the sessions so I’ll let you know how you’re getting on in the popularity stakes! And for anyone reading this who’s attending Summit, I encourage you to register for Giles’s sessions here now: http://summit.adobe.com/emea/login/ . Oh and one last thing Giles – how did you get on with the DAA Award?
Giles: Well I was a runner up in the category. It was great to be considered for the award and I’m hoping that with what we’ve got planned at the bank this year, I’ll be in the running again next time.