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Executive Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Criteo

Grégory is Criteo?s Executive Vice President, Europe, Middle East Africa, having joined the company in 2010 as a sales vice president in charge of international development...


Digital marketing: Tapping big data's potential

3 Feb, 2017 12:39 pm

Big data enables companies to more precisely target consumers. Historically, advertising and marketing have been rather blunt tools, but big data can help create campaigns that remove much of the guesswork and maximize returns. However, achieving this is easier said than done, especially if performance marketing is not your core business, and so companies are increasingly outsourcing much of their data analysis to specialists such as France's Criteo.

How successful have companies been in exploiting customer data to better target their marketing campaigns?

Every company is different and their ability to capitalise on the potential of their data varies greatly. However, there are a few steps all companies can take that will ensure they're best using customer data. The first thing to do, as a brand, is to get customer relationship management (CRM) right. This will enable you to understand who your clients really are, what their expectations are and how you can address them.
Once you know who you're talking to and what will resonate, you can start to employ people-based marketing, originally called one-to-one marketing, whereby you treat every user uniquely.

By doing this, companies will start to understand the value of the data they have access to. Every business is rich in customer information; some just don't know it and so aren't using data to its full potential. With the foundations in place, brands can then start to work with partners that can execute on the promise of all that insight. Capturing data is one thing but using it in real-time is another and even the biggest brands will struggle to effectively do that for themselves.

What role will apps play in digital marketing?

Today, everything is about mobile. In the UK, over half of all online sales are already happening on mobile so if you're an e-commerce company and you're not optimised for the mobile customer, you need to catch up, and quickly, before you completely miss the boat.

Apps are a key part of the mobile experience and one that many businesses underestimate. Two or three years ago, a lot of clients were asking us "Should I have an app?" They weren't sure, because phone screens were getting bigger and bigger and as a result, mobile browser-based shopping seemed a more plausible way of making purchases on the go. But that isn't the case. Apps are the answer. They have better conversion rates, a bigger average basket size and stronger loyalty. Simply put, for retailers, apps convert better than desktop and mobile web.

But while important, apps are only one piece of a bigger puzzle. What is crucial is that users are recognized across all of the devices they are using and that they're receiving a relevant, personalized experience across them all. Users don't care that your business is organised by channels, they expect you to tell a consistent story across all touch points. So today, you need to have mobile, app and the cross-device journey that links them, right.

How will digital and real-world shopping merge?

At one time, shoppers' online behavior consisted mostly of clicks on a website, displayed on a PC. However, Internet browsing habits have rapidly evolved to become increasingly multi-device in recent years. When offline shopping is added to the mix, marketers face a real challenge.

Performance marketing is about delivering the right ad, to the right user, across all devices. Brands know their users are shopping on multiple devices and that they're shopping online and in-store. The question for brands is what to do about it.

We believe the store is going to become an experimental warehouse. Consumers will visit bricks and mortar and value the experience of testing, touching, feeling and trying a product. They might then make the purchase online.

Critically, this experience should be seamless for consumers. Retailers need to be asking how they can understand the true customer journey and effectively link in-store transaction data to develop an effective online-to-offline strategy.

To fully exploit the potential of data-based digital marketing, are companies better advised to outsource data analytics or do it in-house?

Simply, both are needed. Most brands can't do everything themselves. To effectively leverage the power of big data requires time and investment. Of course, brands can invest, but in the fast-paced world in which we live, consumers won't wait. Poor targeting, irrelevant marketing or intrusive ad formats will quickly result in lost customers. Working with specialists introduces scale, speed and, if you make the right choice of partner, performance.
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