Big Data Promotes a Culture of Data-Informed Decision Making and Adaptive Marketing – Antony Young-Mindshare


By Antony Young

Big Data is quickly being catapulted to the top of Marketing’s agenda, but it remains a challenge for many companies in preparing for this shift. According to a survey conducted by IBM, less than half of CMO’s feel prepared to cope with this increasing amount of marketing data over the next 5 years, with the data explosion cited as their #1 headache. The problem isn’t obtaining data, it’s figuring out how to turn it into marketing magic. I’m seeing a growing list of exceptional cases of marketer’s shifting their organizations to adopt a higher level of data-informed decision making, often with astonishing results.

It’s not so much big data, but smart data used at scale

Last week, I had dinner with Joe Rospars, founding partner at Blue State Digital, who served as Obama’s Chief Digital Strategist for his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, and asked him about big data. He responded, their approach “wasn’t so much big data, but smart data used at scale.” To win this election, they needed to get very granular in their targeting. By extracting voter files and collecting information via the tens of thousands of polling calls made to homes every night, they were able to identify by household individual voter likelihood, and then determine the communications they needed to deliver.

The Obama campaign expertly targeted via online advertising, email, door to door and phone canvassing very personalized messaging. They cleverly extended this strategy via social media. Nearly a million supporters that ‘liked’ the Obama 2012 page also allowed access to their profile data via Facebook Connect. This enabled Obama’s people to identify their Facebook friends in battleground States, cross tabulate with their own databases, which they then asked supporters to email or even personally call their friends that fit likely Obama voter profiles, to remind them to register or vote early.

Data is the engine for Adaptive Marketing

Data is allowing brands to move quicker and more decisively to gain a market advantage by dynamically informing their messaging and media.

Samsung a big investor in data, worked with insights firm Networked Insights, to use real-time social listening to help them keep a finger on the pulse of consumer sentiment and adjust their communications to capitalize on the web discussion about brands.

Within a couple of hours of Apple’s Tim Cook revealing their iPhone 5, Samsung reading the reaction in social channels, drafted new print, digital, and TV ads. The following week as the iPhone hit the stores, they aired TV ads mocking Apple customers queuing up for the new phone and some of its less flattering features. The commercial was a hit, and received more than 70 million views online.

They also used social listening as a real time guide to evaluate how effective their ads were with consumers by measuring what people are saying about them and what effect they’ve having on competitors’ brands. Stressing the importance of data in informing their marketing, Brian Wallace, the former VP of Marketing at Samsung, (who recently moved to Motorola to a global marketing role) said, “The data guys lead these conversations. Not the creative guys. Not the sale guys. And it’s not just analytics — it’s analysis.” He added, “[data] does not crush the art of advertising. It simply informs it — and ultimately improves it.” Samsung’s shift to a strategy of employing social data at the center was one of the key factors that assisted them to move from the number 4 mobile device manufacturer to pass the mighty Apple.

Creating a more personalized customer experience

I’m seeing a focus on data enabling marketers to create smarter, more engaged customer experiences.

I recently chaired a panel which included Sandra Zoratti, co-author of the book Precision Marketing. She cited Caesar’s Entertainment as a marketer that centralized data to better formulate its approach to marketing. They identified 0.15% of their customers that contributed to 12% of their casino revenues. This led to them employing Good Luck Ambassadors to monitor these customers. If they weren’t having a good night on the tables, they offered complimentary tickets to a show or dinner based on their known preferences to ensure they left their casinos with a positive experience.

Building a fluid organization that can capitalize on the data

Shifting to a fast moving data marketing organization isn’t just about software and strategy. It requires a shift in how the agency and clients teams work.

The Obama campaign quadrupled their data team from the previous election campaign, adding data technologists, behavioral scientists and mathematicians to crunch the data and help interpret them into actionable marketing insights.

According to Rospars, to improve speed of activation, they established a persona playbook on how the brand should speak, to allow them to delegate decision making down.

Personally, I love this shift to data-informed decision making. It is creating more adaptive, more relevant and more commercial marketing programs. We are barely scratching the surface, but it’s clear that going forward, data will be an enabler of more potent marketing.


Leveraging Data to Embrace the Customer Experience

OMMA’s Data Driven Marketing panel I chaired last week: “Leveraging Data to Embrace The Customer Experience 


The One True View: Leveraging Data to Embrace The Customer Experience
It is not about the channel experience anymore. Big data makes possible a holistic view of a consumer “journey,” that is bigger and more personal than simply being online, in-store, on mobile, or watching TV. That 360-degree or “one true view” of that customer can inform how messaging is crafted and timed according to the user’s path, not the platform. It demands a new understanding of a consumer “lifecycle” and data that drives marketers towards the right touch points. Our panel of marketing practitioners shares examples of how data is best being used to understand and enhance the customer experience and the challenges of creating that “one true view.”
Antony YoungCEOMindshare, N.A. @AntonyYoung
Shaina BooneVP, Marketing ScienceCritical Mass
Greg CorsoVP, Media Solutionsdunnhumby @gjcorso
Pete SteinPresident, Eastern RegionRazorfish @pstein211
Randy WatsonVP of Consulting, Digital Impact & InnovationAcxiom
Sandra ZorattiVP of Marketing, Executive Briefings and EducationRicoh @sandraz
See the video of the panel by clicking this link.

How Data and Micro-Targeting Won the 2012 Election for Obama

If Obama’s Presidential campaign in 2008 was defined by social media, then surely his successful 2012 re-election bid should be attributed to their use of data and micro-targeting.

Election night seemed to confound many of the pundits. Governor Romney appeared to put together a strong campaign with the polls leading into the final week suggesting a tight race. Romney won 60% of White voters. He in fact even won the independents vote. Yet he lost the key battleground States of Ohio, Florida, Virginia, New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada … handing the sitting President a second term.

How did Obama win?

First, he delivered a well-orchestrated campaign of largely negative advertising targeting Romney, which served the purpose of suppressing voter turnout by traditionally Republican supporters.

Second, he mobilized key voter blocks to register early and vote. 18-24 year olds; African Americans; Latinos and single women in the key swing States. Voter turnout for these four key demographics was about 70% thereby giving him the numbers he needed to push him over the edge.

At the heart of these two strategies, was micro-targeting.

Micro-targeting is the ability to dissect in this case, the voter population in to narrow segments and customize messaging to them, both in on-the-ground activities and in the media.

Micro-targeting isn’t a new idea in politics or marketing for that matter. Karl Rove expertly exploited this in the successful Bush campaign in 2000 and 2004. But it was the sophistication and the scale of how they executed this strategy that in the end, proved the knock-out punch for the Democrats.

The Obama camp in preparing for this election, established a huge Analytics group that comprised of behavioral scientists, data technologists and mathematicians. They worked tirelessly to gather and interpret data to inform every part of the campaign. They built up a voter file that included voter history, demographic profiles, but also collected numerous other data points around interests … for example, did they give to charitable organizations or which magazines did they read to help them better understand who they were and better identify the group of‘persuadables‘ to target.

That data was able to be drilled down to zip codes, individual households and in many cases individuals within those households.

However it is how they deployed this data in activating their campaign that translated the insight they garnered into killer tactics for the Obama campaign.

Volunteers canvassing door to door or calling constituents were able to access these profiles via an app accessed on an iPad, iPhone or Android mobile device to provide an instant transcript to help them steer their conversations. They were also able to input new data from their conversation back into the database real time.

The profiles informed their direct and email fundraising efforts. They used issues such Obama’s support for gay marriage or Romney’s missteps in his portrayal of women to directly target more liberal and professional women on their database, with messages that “Obama is for women,” using that opportunity to solicit contributions to his campaign.

Micro-targeting helped them to steer their broadcast buying approach. While both campaigns followed conventional wisdom to buy spots in Local Broadcast news programming, Obama’s team differentiated their schedule by adding networks like TV Land whose viewers they determined “were less political” and therefore more likely to be a persuadable.

Even the selection of celebrity fundraisers were informed by the data. The team identified women 40-49 as the highest contributors to their campaign. Obama’s analytics team in crunching the numbers uncovered that Sara Jessica Parker of Sex in the City fame popped as the most appealing celebrity to this demographic and called her up to ask if she would host a fundraiser dinner for Obama in New York. Web ads and emails from Michelle Obama were sent targeting this group asking them to “chip in whatever they can” with a chance to win an invitation, hotel and flights to New York to attend the event.

As mentioned earlier, encouraging early voting and a higher turnout of key target groups was critical in winning the swing states. They used classic micro-targeting online advertising to reach those groups. Obama’s team’s use of Facebook this time was also very clever, tapping into Facebook’s individual profile data. A million users downloaded the Obama 2012 app on Facebook. The app was able to identify their Facebook friends that fit favorable profiles located in key swing states, encouraging them to contact these friends to remind them to vote. Sources say one in five of those contacted this way were influenced positively by this contact.

Marketers need to take heed of how the Obama campaign transformed their marketing approach centered around data. They demonstrated incredible discipline to capture data across multiple sources and then to inform every element of the marketing – direct to consumer, on the ground efforts, unpaid and paid media. Their ability to dissect potential prospects into narrow segments or even at an individual level and develop specific relevant messaging created highly persuasive communications. And finally their approach to tap their committed fans was hugely powerful. The Obama campaign provides a compelling case for companies to build their marketing expertise around big data and micro-targeting. How ready is your organization to do the same?


MediaPost: Mindshare’s Young Is Focused On Data, Clients, Choices

by , appeared in MediaPost Monday 25 June 2012

YoungBig data, big clients — and someday soon, big mobile. Those are just a few of the items high on the priority list of Antony Young, who joined Mindshare as North American CEO nearly nine months ago.

Young also says the agency needs to do more work in the area of “discovery-based” communications, such as search and social. With a new platform emerging almost daily, he said, clients are hungry for advice on how to use them to best advantage.

“It’s really about choices,” said Young. Because most clients don’t have a need for — nor can they afford to use — all the media channels that are available, media selection is key, and meshing it all together in the most efficient way for individual clients is critical, he adds.

One of the “big bets” that Mindshare is making is that data management technology will help clients find answers quickly about consumer needs, behavior and the kinds of relationships they want to have with marketers. Ultimately, having that knowledge should boost client profits, which is what agencies are being increasingly called upon to do, Young said.

Just last week, Mindshare launched a new tech platform that it believes will advance clients’ ability to aggregate and massage massive amounts of data in ways that will sharply improve strategic planning and integrated communication capabilities.

Called Core, the platform was created with the help of a number of outside data and market research firms, including Acxiom and Nielsen. It’s an open-source, “always on” system that crunches media, pricing, consumer and client data including sales, supply chain and CRM stats.

According to Young, that platform and other data-related capability enhancements the shop is undertaking  are “probably the most important piece of the puzzle for clients.” It contains all of the information required to finding links to improved results. “That’s huge,” he said. “That syncing up and marrying of media, consumer and business data can unlock a lot of business value for clients.”

Agency-client relationships are another key focus at the agency, said Young, who notes that in the time he has been at Mindshare, the CMOs or top-ranking marketing executives at 16 clients have changed. Keeping up with the new strategies and agendas of the shifting players is crucial.

Young made several reorganizational moves recently to ensure that the agency is keenly focused on clients and potential new business.

In May, Lee Doyle, a GroupM veteran and former CEO at sibling agency MEC, was appointed president of client development at Mindshare, a new position at the agency. Doyle will focus on multinational clients and seeing that the agency has the right resources and strategies in place at client teams. Doyle’s appointment, said Young, is a signal that “we really want to be engaged with clients at a more senior level and earlier in the planning stages.”

Staying “constantly fluid is a really important part of that,” added Young. “Especially when you look at the [management] changes at clients and shifting priorities as their own businesses change.”

In a related bid to stengthen client ties, the shop promoted Michael Epstein to president, strategic resources and client services. He is responsible for the management of new business, corporate communications, digital, multicultural and promotions. Epstein previously served as the lead on a number of key client accounts, including Unilever.

The potential of mobile is no longer a subject of debate, says Young. He believes society is headed toward a “mobile-dominated media world,” where tablets will almost supplant PCs. While he says agencies and clients alike probably aren’t moving fast enough to prepare for that eventuality, the agency made a move last week, forming a joint venture with Google, called “Mobile Garage.” It’s designed to educate companies about mobile technology and expedite their use of the medium in their marketing plans.

“Everyone is trying to catch up,” in the mobile sector, said Young, noting that 15% of transactions are now done via mobile, as are 20% of Google searches. “To me, that’s a pretty sharp signal that marketers and agencies are behind the eight ball and we need to get ahead of it.”

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