September 28, 2017

Useful event for Customer Analytics leaders, a quick debrief

By Paul Laughlin

event for customer analyticsThis week I had the opportunity to attend an event for Customer Analytics & Insight leaders.

Run by CACI, in London, it proved to be a good opportunity to catch-up with others’ perspectives. Reassuringly, the agenda designed for this audience, focussed on many familiar topics from this blog. It was also free to attend & very popular, so worth considering in future.

There were a mixture of CACI and external speakers. Across the afternoon, they covered segmentation, data platforms, GDPR & data visualisation. Plenty to reflect on & compare to content we have previously heard from insight leaders.

So, as the autumn conference season gets into full swing, here is my first event debrief for insight leaders…

Segmentation for Insight leader in Events

The first external speaker was Simon Wigley from NEC Group. It was interesting to hear more about the scale of their organisation. They have so many more business lines & event venues than just the NEC in Birmingham.

Simon shared the audience insight segmentation they built, together with CACI. As ever, it’s a little difficult to separate talk of all the dimensions considered, from those used in clustering. Data sources used to some extent included CACI products plus internal transaction/customer data. These were also enhanced by email marketing behavioural data, TGI and bespoke research.

As Simon shared the story of how they developed this segmentation, it became clearer how this was built. It appears to be (broadly) a demographic segmentation, based on age & affluence data proxies. Then each segment has been profiled using TGI & research sources to better understand attitudes.

So often, I see that a helpful way for businesses to visually summarise their segmentation is on a 2×2 grid. The most common axes are age or life-stage and income or affluence, as Simon used.

Their 7 segments appeared usefully distinct, whilst still being significant markets for personalisation. Simon made the case for a demographic/behavioural segmentation being more useful than an attitudinal one. A topic we’ve discussed before on this blog.

I was also interested to hear Simon use some tips I have suggested before, for socializing segmentation. Gaining buy-in and a common language across a business is so important. Embedding a segmentation is as much a ‘hearts & minds‘ challenge as a technical task. Simon’s team produced a printed glossy book & held internal events. This sounded like a very effective programme of meeting with Sales, Marketing & CX for each business unit. Plus, engaging the Board with what matters for them.

Encouraging stuff. They also appear to be using segmentation in the range of ways I’ve seen it make a difference. It is being applied to Customer Journeys, Contact Strategy, Proposition Development and personalization. Measurement of ROI impact is also critical tp ongoing support. Apparently they already have evidence of uplift in event bookings as a result of segmented emails.

Now their attention is turned to their B2B partners. How can they share their segmentation and enable better performance across the value chain. I look forward to hearing more.

Segmentation for Insight Leaders in Financial Services

Staying on the theme of segmentation, another speaker on this topic was an old friend. Sharing the progress that Lloyds Bank has made with this, was the ever entertaining Rob Milligan.

Rob actually began by singing he praises of Toby Ng as a data visualisers. The way he has used his ‘World of 100 people‘ simple visualisations has inspired Rob. He shared these as an example of data + logic + design being the best way to present people with truths.

Expressing some of the social responsiblity emphasis of Lloyds’ strategy, Rob highlighted concerns. These included concentration of wealth with older, different channel usage, rich v poor elderly.

To enable a focus on different needs from different types of customers, Lloyds is using CACI’s Fresco. So, another example of life-stage & affluence data-based segmentation. However, this is not used in isolation. Rob explained that when internal data proves more descriptive (e.g. size of savings held) this will guide action.

Extra profiling/descriptive work has been done to describe each segment in Lloyds data. These look useful and customised to each audience.

For me the key takeaway was Rob’s tactics for launching and using this segmentation. Rather than a grand launch & ‘segmentation strategy’ he is going for stealth approach. Instead, every piece of analysis also uses this dimension. Regular reports have also been redesigned to present relevant segment insights.

It sounds like this tactic is paying off. When you consider your own business, it is worth considering which is best. Grand launches & events can back fire for some ort overly hype expectations. Gradual immersion & demonstration of relevant information can work better. From my experience it really is horses for courses. Which approach will work to influence your stakeholders?

Data Management Platforms – help newspapers

DMPs (as these are being called), have become a popular acronym amongst those working in Marketing or IT. But like too many new buzzwords, too often there is not a consistent explanation.

So, it was good to hear Paul Hatley from the Telegraph, explain how his insight team uses them. Paul first introduced this newspaper group (which I didn’t realise has a bigger total audience than Guardian or Times, at 25m). Plus, his challenge as an insight leader, is that their data also covers a wide breadth of products (inc. travel & financial services).

Usefully, Paul has a clear target market (affluent over 55s). But still faces a number of issues when trying to target & measure ‘people based marketing‘ as he called it.

He identified two of these key issues as:

  • Lack of complete SCV: Like most clients I work with, this continues to be a work in progress. A thorough data audit has revealed multiple ‘SCVs’ across the business as well as a Data Lake solution. As with other businesses, there is a need to identify & prioritise the most important data items to have in a pragmatic view.
  • Growing scale of content subscription via 3rd parties. the dominance of social channels, including Apple News, SnapChat etc, makes challenge harder. As digital barons protect their ‘walled gardens‘, it is harder to access customer data. Paul shared image of a large visual dashboard in news room that now tracks content consumption in real-time.

Two solutions that sound like they are assisting Paul are co-located teams and a DMP.

This blog advocated a Holistic approach to Customer Insight, so it was good to hear Paul reference data, analytics & research teams. His insight team is co-located with Data Science teams and others sound to be well-connected. Converging evidence from all these teams (including market intelligence), helps generate insights.

Finally, Paul described the complete Adobe MarTech + AdTech solution that has been implemented. Within this, their DMP complements their existing CRM solution. It enables the creation of a ‘individual view’ for anonymous customers/readers. Those who have not subscribed, and so not provided customer data.

The DMP uses a range of 3rd party sources to augment cookie data. Individuals identified can then be identified as repeat visitors and described. This allows some of the segmented treatments/content previously only used with known customers to be used to personalise. Such improvements, to digital CX, have potential to encourage anonymous visitors to provide personal data.

GDPR still needs to be discussed further

Sadly, given other sessions over-running, there was little time for a GDPR panel discussion. Paul Winters from CACI provided a usefully comprehensive overview of GDPR impact. He managed to summarise this under the headings of:

  • Accountability
  • Individual Rights
  • Breaches
  • Basis for Processing
  • Consent/Legitimate Interest
  • Profiling

Plus a few others I didn’t note. The only gap in what was covered, that I could notice, was an emphasis on the accountability of data processors too (and need for contracts). So, I asked a question about advice for clients on what such contracts needed to cover.

It’s a shame there wasn’t more time for panel discussion, as Christine Andrews from DQM was on the panel. Her expertise in this area, and experience of conducting DQM’s GDPR Radar audits for many clients already, would help others.

Data Visualisation is mainstream for BI leaders too

In one of the final sections, a couple of data visualisers from CACI shared the work that they do for clients. They saw the rise of Data Viz to the mainstream as a result of data availability + senior leaders now seeing data as a valuable asset + growth of tools. What was interesting for me was their focus on BI software packages for this work, rather than our previous focus on R, Python or Julia.

I suspect their approach is more mainstream and their case studies were interesting. Across work for O2, DFS and others, it was good to see their ethos. As the data visualisation experts I’ve recommended would counsel – form did follow function. They had a good focus on understanding requirements, context & available data, before choosing any tool. They also made use of hand drawn sketches to mock-up designs before starting work.

Akin to what I’ve found when running courses for DataIQ. The mainstream of data visualisation requirements are not about complex coding, they are about insight. Understand the insight that needs to be communicated from some data & then apply design principles.

Were you at this event for Customer Analytics?

Did you also make it along to CACI’s “Customer Analytics & Insight 2017“? If so, please do also share your recollections.

What did you learn from this event? What will you do differently in future?