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3 min read

SearchLeeds: Are you seeing the whole elephant? – Rob McGowan

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

Are you seeing the whole elephant? Why you need multiple perspectives on your customers to get the full picture.

Rob McGowan is a strategy director at Response One, an insight-driven marketing agency backed by St Ives Group. Rob kicked off stage 2 this morning with a talk around how to approach data and utilise it in your everyday marketing life and how important context is to understand what the customer wants.

He used the blind men and an elephant fable as the core of his presentation, hence the title.

Definitely check out Rob’s slide decks too as he uses some really interesting timelines to explain the changes of data over time.

Understanding your role

Important to not get stuck in a particular discipline. No matter what role you play in your agency or business it is important to understand your expertise can help others.

‘Half the truth is often a great lie’ – Benjamin Franklin

As marketers, our job is to understand our customers and how they interact with our brands and what they want from the brand.

Common mistakes – ‘Asking the wrong question’ is one of the biggest common mistakes.

Lack of data can’t be an excuse.

The changing data landscape – gift and a curse!

Rob showed a timeline of how data has changed over the years. The two main periods that are relevant to marketers are 1995 and today:

– 1995 – the year of customer data ‘revolution’ i.e. Tesco & transaction based loyalty was introduced.

– Today – explosion of structured and unstructured data. Context is important and up until now it has been difficult to act upon it.

Think about how you can start to overlay all of these bits of data together. As a brand, third party data is useful but still if you focus on just one set of data you won’t get the full picture. There is so so much data today that can be used so it is all about selecting the right primary data but ensuring you never lose the full picture. Data should also be taken outside of marketing.

Baby and family led marketing – an editorial calendar that demands rich data

Rob used an analogy of leading a marketing campaign and delivering results as pregnancy and childbirth. The main point of this analogy is to demonstrate that it is very easy to be relevant because you know when the baby’s due, but you need to be valuable too – that’s where the challenge lies.

Drinking from the firehose can be difficult – even if you can find the hose

Extracting the right data is crucial – what do you really need?

Make pragmatic use of what you have easy access to:

  • Utilise existing touchpoints
  • Data does not have to be expensive – an example of an email campaign – without asking directly you can use email campaigns and marketing tools to learn what people are interested in.

“If content is King, context is queen”

Data and context provide rich pickings for content and offer, for example taking into consideration language, weather, channel preference & location.

‘There’s always a spreadsheet down the back of the sofa’ – make sure you talk to your colleagues because a spreadsheet or some data from a while ago could be useful.

Useful free tools

Rob listed some free tools for the following areas:

  • Media level
  • Brand/site level
  • Social analytics
  • Customer analytics

These are all in his presentation so check it out for further information.