Data is Everyone’s Domain, and Everyone’s Responsibility

by Paul Robson

Posted on 03-20-2019

A great ad isn’t the same as a deliv­er­ing a great cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. A stroke of cre­ative genius might cap­ture people’s atten­tion for a moment, but it’s what you do with their atten­tion that mat­ters. Today’s cus­tomer jour­ney is made up of every inter­ac­tion your audi­ence has with your brand before, dur­ing, and after their pur­chase, and it needs to keep them engaged all the way through. That’s why the words “Coca Cola” evoke more than just a frost­ed bot­tle of Coke, or why “Apple” means more to us than slick prod­uct designs. Both these brands place as much val­ue on the expe­ri­ences they deliv­er, out­side their prod­ucts, as they do on mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing. More impor­tant­ly, their employ­ees under­stand the role they play in shap­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. Every­one has a stake in the cus­tomer jour­ney today. Where depart­ments such as IT and HR once worked in the shad­ows, sup­ply­ing cus­tomer-fac­ing teams with the resources and skills to engage with the out­side world, they now play a cru­cial role in shap­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence themselves.

Con­sid­er the IT depart­ment – the shift to data-dri­ven busi­ness has seen IT and mar­ket­ing work more close­ly than ever to get clos­er to their audi­ence. For their part, HR teams have tak­en the lead in dri­ving a more cus­tomer-cen­tric cul­ture and a more con­sci­en­tious approach to data, both of which are then reflect­ed in the way their busi­ness devel­ops new ser­vices and expe­ri­ences. Our lat­est Dig­i­tal Trends Report dri­ves this point home. The respon­dent base for our research used to be almost entire­ly made up of mar­keters and adver­tis­ers, but this year mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als only account­ed for 23% of respon­dents. Join­ing them were cre­atives (28%), IT prac­ti­tion­ers (10%), and con­tent spe­cial­ists (7%), among others.

Part of this shift comes down to our grow­ing depen­dence on data. It’s no longer just IT teams who rec­og­nize data’s val­ue. Every depart­ment, from mar­ket­ing to IT, is look­ing to extract insight from the infor­ma­tion they col­lect and use it to deliv­er more per­son­al­ized cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. The big push for brands is to uni­fy all their data so that every team can under­stand and add val­ue to the cus­tomer jour­ney. We found that more than half of mar­keters plan to make bet­ter use of data in 2019, and that near­ly two-thirds of IT pro­fes­sion­als plan to uni­fy data from across the orga­ni­za­tion onto a sin­gle platform.

These are both pos­i­tive shifts, and it’s reas­sur­ing to see mar­keters and IT on the same page. How­ev­er, col­lab­o­ra­tion will be the key to bring­ing their joint ambi­tion to life. It is through a cul­ture of shar­ing knowl­edge, trans­fer­ring skills, and align­ing pri­or­i­ties that the busi­ness as a whole will move towards a more per­son­al­ized and trans­par­ent approach to man­ag­ing data. Hir­ing and empow­er­ing the right tal­ent is also cru­cial for com­pa­nies that want to use data in a way that’s fit for today’s mar­ket. After all, your employ­ees are the ones who will col­lect, inter­pret, and act on this infor­ma­tion. It’s our job as busi­ness lead­ers to help ensure both exist­ing and new tal­ent enter­ing the work­force have an appre­ci­a­tion for how data can enrich people’s lives, while also under­stand­ing the impli­ca­tions of using infor­ma­tion irresponsibly.

This requires more than just tech­ni­cal knowl­edge and STEM skills, though both remain indis­pens­able. It takes an abil­i­ty to inter­pret data cre­ative­ly and under­stand its impli­ca­tions beyond algo­rithms and sales fig­ures. Indeed, this cre­ative lay­er is key to bridg­ing the divide between cus­tomer-fac­ing teams and IT. Only then, will we be able to build a work­force that’s equipped to mar­ry the art of cre­ativ­i­ty with the sci­ence of per­son­al­i­sa­tion, while con­tin­u­ing to put con­sumers’ inter­ests first.

Data has tru­ly become everyone’s domain, and everyone’s respon­si­ble. Nowhere is this more evi­dent than Europe, where GDPR has giv­en busi­ness­es even more rea­son to take con­trol over their data. Encour­ag­ing­ly, our research shows that brands have made this a pri­or­i­ty for 2019 and are empow­er­ing every team in their organ­i­sa­tion to play its part.

To find out what 2019 holds in store for brands and what their approach to data is, read our 2019 Dig­i­tal Trends Report, com­plet­ed in part­ner­ship with Econ­sul­tan­cy here.

Topics: Digital Transformation, advertising, customer experience, customer journey, data, Digital Trends, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA