Separating quality data from the junk

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What has your data done for you lately? This was the question posed by Exponential APAC’s Melbourne-based head of strategy Tyler Greer yesterday when he flew in to present to a packed room of around 50 leading New Zealand brands and agencies, including BNZ, Flight Centre, Westpac, Genesis Energy, Sky TV, Spark, Dynamo, OMD, Mediacom and ANZ, at The Wintergarden Room at The Northern Club.

“The proliferation of data over the last few years is well documented,” Greer said.

“Whilst Google ceo Eric Shmidt’s famous 2010 quote There were five Exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilisation through to 2003, but that much information is now created every two days might be an overstatement – we do know that each year we are collecting more data than all of the preceding years.

“But this is creating a new challenge for brands, many of who are now drowning in data. The conundrum they have to solve is just what data is the most useful for their purpose and, critically, how do they draw real insights from it?”

It ain’t what you don’t know …
Greer’s presentation outlined how brands can effectively separate the quality data from the junk and how this can then be used to drive campaign performance. A quote early in his presentation from Mark Twain (It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so) challenged the audience to think carefully about how much, how, where and what they did with their data to ensure that they were geared up to discover genuine insights from their data analysis – insights that can drive real action.

According to Greer, the problems facing brands and their agencies when it comes to the use of data are various. A lack of clear understanding of how and from where data is derived; it’s age; and a general lack of transparency in how data providers store and use it on their behalf. Added to this are the structural problems inherent in the ways in which organisations connect data driven insights and connect these to marketing and media plans.

He urged to audience to ask questions of those collecting and connecting data points on their behalf and to value those with expertise in sifting through the rubbish from the gold in order to unearth insights of value to brand planning, noting.

“There needs to be a bridge between data and action,” he said. “Part of that is understanding where it comes from. The success will be knowing ‘OK, now that we have it this is what we do with it’.

“Converting the reaction is what will be most critically useful to the brands.”

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