Since marketing was invented, businesses have been trying to understand customer behavior. The difference in our data-driven era is the availability to quantify that understanding with analytical tools.
"Marketing is now science," said Dominic Powers, vice chairman of the Asia Digital Marketing Association (ADMA). "Data visualization tools and marketing automation tools are now available for marketers to understand their customers beyond a demographic bracket."
Tech not an issue
He added that technology is no longer an issue and marketers can easily use these tools to learn more about the customers' preferences, then build personalized communication campaigns and project their success rates.
Despite the power of data and analysis, few Hong Kong enterprises have embarked on this journey. Powers said that's due to the lack of a single view of customer data and visibility for marketers.
"The challenge in Hong Kong is its very conservative business culture," he said. "Look at the supermarkets, there's no consumer engagement for delivering the right message at the right time—they're still living in the 1980s."
But global enterprises with a local presence are slowly bringing the culture of data-driven marketing into the city. According to Powers, Procter & Gamble (P&G) is one of the few organizations able to provide a single view of customer data for marketers.
The journey wasn't easy, said David Dittmann, associate director, business intelligence of retailer & product supply analytics, P&G.
He attributed P&G's success to its centralized data governance model. This model, built using Tibco's analytical platform, allows his team to create different standardized templates to visualize data for different business units and product units across different geographies within P&G.
Journey to data integration
"One of the major changes we made is to develop a data model to enable centralized data governance," he said. "So the [business] templates look exactly the same for everyone, from the Tide analyst in Guangzhou to the Olay analyst in Cincinnati."
Dittmann spent two years at P&G's Asia Business Analysis in Singapore, and said business units "outside the mothership" tend to demand a customized set of data. He understands the challenges of data accuracy within the region, as growing markets tend to bring rapid changes. "But this means the ability to keep a single repository of data is even more critical," he added.
The centralized platform also enable integration of external information, like data from market research firm Nielsen or social media information, for marketers or business executives to make projections.
Dittmann said one example is the retail measurement tools developed to help their customers: major retail distributors. "It helps retailers to make decisions on the location of a new store," he said.
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