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Insight Economy

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Connecting data provides the insight Collecting and analysing vast amounts of often disparate data from a growing number of digital sources can help target CONNECTED DATA DAN MATTHEWS D ata is the 21st century's currency and yet the val- ue of the coin depends greatly on how organisa- tions mine, sift, interpret and act on the massive amounts of information hitting them from all angles. With the arrival, some years ago now, of what we now know as big data, there is a fast-growing need to make sense of potential insights that flood into data pots. By cross-refer - encing this information in a fast and efficient way, businesses can paint the clearest picture of who their cus- tomers are and what motivates them. In turn, crystallised information helps organisations make future strategy decisions, create more rele - vant products and services, and safe- guard themselves from future risks. "The explosion of data made avail- able by the increasingly connected world is bringing unprecedented change to businesses," says Roy Jubraj, managing director for digital and innovation at Accenture. "By 2020, over 50 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet. With billions of sensors and devices plugged into the connected world, organisations are starting to use connected data to do three things: run themselves more effectively, fu - ture-proof their business and reform the relationship with their customers." To connect data sets, organisations take a step back and look at the entire customer journey or cycle, taking into consideration touchpoints in a colossal ecosystem of devices, web - sites, social interactions and content. By combining these sets, it's pos- sible to understand more about how people interact with the business at every step of the way. "Connected data is concerned with the end-to-end customer journey, across multiple channels and de - vices," explains Jason Ryan, found- ing partner of customer marketing agency Brilliant Noise. "It draws data from multiple sourc- es to give a more holistic view of customer behaviour and customer interactions with a business. These data sources might have once re - mained siloed either by technology or organisational barriers, with the resulting business value of connect- ing them remaining unrealised." Learning about the people you want to sell to is nothing new. Many decades ago business development executives were researching the sto - ries behind their sales leads to un- derstand what made them tick and what needs they could fulfil. But the digital era has created a sys- tem in which this process can be auto- mated and carried out on an industri- al scale. Fifty years ago, salespeople would save their energy for their big- gest spending prospects, now it's cost effective to make discoveries about people who spend sparingly too. Jon Cano-Lopez, chief executive of independent data communications firm REaD Group, says: "Knowing your customers inside out has al - ways been vital to success in busi- ness. This principle applies whether you are dealing with one person or one thousand people. "The availability of data today al - lows modern businesses to under- stand vast customer bases on this granular level, giving them those little nuggets of information that enable them to create profitable re - lationships with consumers." So what kind of data is now being collected? "Transactional, lifestyle and behavioural data represent the three core data sets that are most com - monly recorded and used for insight. "Transactional data is informa- tion relating to what people spend, where they spend it, how often and how much. Lifestyle data refers to who people are, where they live, what their interests are and what's important to them. Behavioural data relates to people's activity, both online and offline, what they do and via which channels." Over the years the amount of data available has increased, so organisa - tions must adapt and evolve to keep up with the information flow. They have adopted new systems of data capture and new analytical soft - ware, as well as new inducements for customers to part with their secrets. Nils Mork-Ulnes, head of data and strategy at experience design busi - ness Beyond, points to the example of the supermarket loyalty card, which was one of the earliest suc- cessful innovations to capture data in the emerging digital age. "As such, the value exchange offered to the customer was 'if I can track your purchases, you will receive points you can cash in for rewards'. This revolu - tionised how supermarkets planned, merchandised and marketed – they went from operating in the dark to be- ing able to target the customers most likely to buy any given product they wanted to sell more of," he says. "Over the years, they have aug - mented these databases with de- Connected data is concerned with the end-to- end customer journey, across multiple channels and devices mographic, psychographic, behav- ioural and other data sources from a variety of third parties to enrich their understanding. And as con- sumers spend more and more of their time online and on smart- phones, adding new digital data is becoming a key need. "But you need to do that across all the channels consumers now use and you have to ask for permission to collect data in new ways. For in - stance, what is the digital equiva- lent of a store loyalty card? Once you crack those problems, the potential to create new value for customers increases manifold because you have so many new touchpoints and ways to create value from data." Clearly, supermarkets are big- budget behemoths that can and must invest heavily in mining and cross-referencing data to the nth degree. A supermarket outlet, its layout, customer approach, offers and incentives are the manifesta - tion of intensive research. CAR FOOD SHOP REGION AGE SEX BANK CONNECTING THE DEMOGRAPHIC DOTS Big data can be a minefield of information for companies to digest. By looking at the similarities and differences between the customers various consumer brands, it is possible to see patterns and trends in supposedly unrelated audiences. For each category, the data shows the characteristics of customers/fans of each brand, based on the standard deviation from the UK average Audi BMW Fiat Honda Mercedes Mini Renault Seat Vauxhall Volkswagen Aldi Asda Co-operative Sainsbury's Tesco Waitrose Central Scotland East Anglia London Midlands North East South Coast West Country 18-24 25-39 40-54 55+ Male Female Barclays Co-operative Bank First Direct Halifax HSBC Lloyds Natwest RBS Santander TSB THE INSIGHT ECONOMY raconteur.net 08 RACONTEUR 01 / 09 / 2016

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