Advertising Age’s Digital Editor, Michael Learmonth succinctly summarized the overarching takeaway from two consecutive days of discussions at Ad Age’s Digital Conference and its CMO Strategy Summit in San Francisco. Learmonth observed: “The only certainty is continued change.”
The annual events brought together an interesting cross-section of speakers and attendees, ranging from leaders of start-ups and non-profits to Fortune 500 brands. While the presenters represented a broad spectrum of industries and challenges, several key themes began to emerge as common denominators.
One theme that particularly came up consistently throughout the discussions was the importance of leveraging and applying Big Data, although the tone of several presentations were almost apologetic, as if it was a cliché subject to even address. It seems marketers are growing a little tired of the “big data” conversation.
While Big Data may have become the latest Buzzword Bingo term, all the same, it’s impossible to ignore how frequently effective marketing examples began with a robust understanding of consumer perceptions and purchase habits. CVS CMO Rob Price shared his perspective around big data, that it’s “necessary but insufficient on its own.”
Price spent some time talking about how the brand’s Extra Care program has, in part, set the foundation for its recently launched MyWeekly custom deal service. He used MyWeekly as an example of creatively applying insights from a best-in-class loyalty program into an actionable campaign.
While the traditional newspaper circular is a huge point of impression for the drug store channel, Price likened them to Model-T Fords: “You can have [a circular] any color you want, as long as it’s black.”
MyWeekly seeks to add a layer of “Authentic Personalization” to this media channel, leveraging purchase data and regional store considerations to tailor a custom digital “circular” available on computer, tablet or mobile phone. The new program, launched with an estimated $7 million marketing budget and “What’s Your Deal?” tagline, is designed to address consumers’ ever-growing desire for relevance and connectivity.
In a retail industry that is increasingly competing with the endless aisles of Amazon, some retailers who have committed themselves to understanding customer purchase habits are trying to fight fire-with-fire in terms of purchase recommendations.
So what’s the key to managing Big Data in today’s world? Don’t forget the power of individuality.
Robert Ausdenmoore is Manager, Client Development, for Interbrand Design Forum.