With the rise of job titles such as chief data officer and chief technological officer, is it any surprise that data and analytics have become a pivotal part of any company’s success?
Jyoti Jain, regional associate director of strategy at Mondelēz International Asia Pacific, said during the recent Analytics 2015 Singapore conference at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre that the company puts a unique focus on analytics where the function cuts across all verticals in the company. As such, at Mondelēz, the analytics falls under the strategy function of the company rather than marketing.
“The function absolutely needs to drive meta-thinking for the organisation,” she said.
So how do you get started on analytics?
The first golden rule to analytics is to invest.
Bigger brands get larger payback when they invest appropriately, explained Jain, alluding to the popular saying, “the rich get richer”. The right investment is needed for the success of an analytics team and the more a company is willing to clean up its processes, and sharpen its toolkit, the more “payback” it will receive in terms of measurement and putting frameworks in place.
This is what Luxola did. Adrien Eudes, head of data at Luxola, elaborated that when the company wanted to first understand its customers better, it launched a “data warehouse” and built up its own algorithms.
He explained that for the brand it was vital to see how the customer was interacting with it and what the different points of interaction were. Only then was the company actively able to segment its users and their behaviour on the site.
With analytics teams becoming the backbone function of so many of a company’s functions, Jain insists that analytics teams have “rules of thumb and a playbook” to go to when sales or marketing functions need immediate assistance.
Analytics she added, was a means to an end. Today, with timelines and budgets getting tighter, analytics has a bigger role to play in answering key business questions with measurement, evaluation and feedback.
“We often have marketing and sales coming up to us with what they think might be opportunities of business growth to help with the entire business portfolio. This is where we have rule of thumbs or playbooks,” she said. She added that often marketers and sales folks wanted the analytics team to make sense of unstructured data.
Businesses also need to have benchmark databases. This allows a marketer or analyst in APAC to tap in and try to predict what a consumer’s responsiveness might be to a certain campaign in another country with a similar target audience or population base.
Mondelēz, according to Jain, puts a lot of focus and investment on setting up information systems on those benchmarks. Roping in agency partners to establish these benchmarks is also vital since they are often at the forefront of new technologies and work closely with the business.
“I may be entering a new market in APAC, but I could look at a similar market in another part of the world and then deviate from those benchmarks. This allows for meta-thinking which is very important because it gets organisations into a pattern impact where they can see similarities across markets,” she said.
Globalise and democratise
Analytics is fair game for all departments especially since data today can come from all aspects of an organisation.
Eudes explained that while personalised tracking and retrieving online information was vital in building up a customer portfolio and understanding the business, the team at Luxola also took to the physical warehouses to get information.
“We learnt directly from our own ‘physical’ warehouse, from walkways, and we also looked to our database, connected to our back-end data and vendors and also looked at AdWords, social media, remarketing tools, CRM and others,” he said.
Thus it’s not just the duty of the IT team or marketing team, but rather the entire organisation.
He added the company also wanted everyone to help, to bring ideas and explain the “wrong” anomalies rather than sit around configuring the data.
This was echoed by Jain who explained that companies needed to globalise and democratise data information. Globalising data information allows a brand to create synergies across markets and scale advantage. It is also a cost-efficient method.
“But what is the use of all this information if not to democratise it and get people across the various verticals using it?” she asked.
“Analytics can come in to find future demand, check physical availability, find more macro trends, listen to consumers, capture appropriate value of decisions and figure out if a company’s portfolio is balanced and supported.”
What are companies doing wrong?
According to Jain, with so much going on, marketers and analytics experts often lose focus.
“Analytics is the unique lever in an organisation that can help all parts of the organisation find focus. Go for the big rocks in the business with your analytical framework and you will find the big rock. At Mondelēz, we have a strategic prioritisation where key metrics tell us which brand is important in which country. With this we know where to put focus.”
A small change on a big business will make a big impact. Another mistake analytics teams are often making is not finding quick wins. She added that at times teams have “analysis paralysis” with the overwhelming amount of information out there.
In analytics, she explained, it is better to be roughly right then precisely wrong.
“It is better to be good and on time rather than perfect and late. The field is one where a direction is necessary and learning on the go is a must so companies need to just dive in and learn by doing.”
Convince your higher management to give you a budget and to understand why it is needed, said Jain.
A good team is also vital – even if it is a small one. With the right people and training, the team can go far because it is on the ground.
“Analytics might be based on past behaviour, but we are creatures of habit. Learn from your mistakes. Analytics is the critical enabler to that measurement. What gets measured gets done. And rewarded.”