With big data on the rise in Hong Kong â€“ riding the wave of a huge pool of opportunities that data and technology brings to the market â€“ local digital marketing consultancy company Webs Sâ€™up and DoubleClickâ€™s service provider FiveStones merged into Numiracle GroupÂ in January to strengthen its position as a one-stop digital marketing consultant in APAC.
Many believe big data holds big promise for the enterprise, especially for the marketing industry.
However, Webs Sâ€™up founder Bob Tin (right) says that some marketers have a huge knowledge gap when it comes to data technology.
â€śMost of our clients found those technical terms and concepts are too difficult to follow; some donâ€™t even know how to make good use of data,â€ť he says.
â€śWe have expertise in crunching, consolidating and transforming the complicated and unstructured data into useful information for them and do what they are supposed to do with data â€“ have a single view of the customer and make better business decisions.â€ť
As IBMâ€™s business partner, the company offers a big data solution service with IBMâ€™s support to reveal an aggregated single view of a customerâ€™s behaviour out of an enormous amount of data by enriching the capability of data analysis from storage to segmentation.
The merger was driven by the common values and philosophies for operating a business, as Webs Sâ€™up and FiveStones both believe in providing excellent products, putting customers first, capitalising on big data opportunities, and more importantly, nurturing digital engagement to understand customersâ€™ behaviour better.
â€śNumiracle, which means using numbers to create a miracle, aims to bridge the gap between marketing and technology to process data into valuable information, and to transform insights into an actionable campaign roadmap,â€ť Tin says.
As â€śsmart dataâ€ť has become a buzzword, and while some even argue that â€śbigâ€ť isnâ€™t always better, Tin thinks, â€świthout big data, you canâ€™t have smart dataâ€ť.
â€śFor me, smart data is just another way to say big data. If you want to discover information thatâ€™s actually making sense and useful, you need to analyse from large amounts of data.â€ť
Alex Yeung, managing director of FiveStones, believes the merger will create synergies since DoubleClickâ€™s technology will enhance Numiracleâ€™s ability to track data of various marketing campaigns so that marketers, for example, will have a holistic picture of usersâ€™ behaviour, including the full path of their journey from the first touch-point to conversion.
And with data-driven attribution, they can easily and correctly understand the effectiveness of each channel along the path.
While some companies and institutions source data from outside their organisations, Yeung thinks this is not optimal.
â€śAfter all, not all customers are the same. If you want to understand your customers better,Â you need to collect and accumulate as much as data from your very own marketing campaigns and activities to perform an effective data analysis.â€ť
While some people appreciate the value of data because it can help drive better marketing decisions or maximise economic benefits, not many realise that in-house digital data is indeed a valuable asset of a company.
Yeung explains it may be because they donâ€™t seem to fully understand the role of ownership in controlling data.
â€śIn the long term, you have to communicate with existing customers which is crucial forÂ building a sustainable business. Thatâ€™s why I encourage brands to own and control their data from the beginning.â€ť
By embracing big data and social analysis, he adds brands can get a consolidated and clear view of a customer by understanding an online userâ€™s journey from tracking data and social behaviour.
For example, crunching customer purchasing patterns from their CRM databases, brands can get a single view of a customerâ€™s behaviour to drive on-target campaigns in the future and ensure business success as a result.
â€śThe beauty of data storage is that data owned by marketers, and collected from each online campaign, can serve the purpose of refreshing online behaviour data.â€ť
Tin agrees: â€śThereâ€™s no shortcut. We should go back to basics, leverage the data of your own customers so that you can find suitable marketing tools to take a holistic approach to make accurate predictions as well as identify new business opportunities.â€ť
While many see the rapid rise of ad blocking technology as a threat, Yeung sees it as an opportunity.
â€śIndeed, theyâ€™re clearly telling you what they want. They donâ€™t want to be patronised byÂ brand information.â€ť
He says marketing nowadays is about listening, rather than pushing a message as it was done in the past. He suggests brands need to offer customers relevant information or content based on their interests.