By Stéphane Amarsy,
CEO of D-AIM
Whether collected, analyzed or exploited, data is the key to corporate decision-making. It allows brands to innovate, boost revenue and ensure an enriched experience at every step of the customer journey, including marketing. But in our data-driven world, we must also tread carefully. To act responsibly towards consumers and the environment, we must only extract what’s most important and relevant.
HANDLING A CONTINUOUS FLOW OF DATA
Today, customer data is mainly digital, but it also comes from smart objects, maintenance processes, product use, vehicles, buildings and more. Data can even be collected from certain natural and biological events.
Only a tiny portion ever gets used, especially since data collection is restricted. But there is also the issue of storing, processing and using data, which until recently has been very expensive.
What’s more, handling such incredible volumes requires a totally different marketing approach: it is simply impossible for humans to make sense of all this information.
While the realm of possibilities may be infinite, other, more traditional limitations exist. There is the legal framework of the GDPR, for example, which restricts access to certain types of personal data such as religion and sexual orientation. Ethics is another big issue: there must be a legitimate reason to collect data such as date of birth, marital status, financial difficulties or health conditions. Finally, the capacity to collect and store data is in itself finite.
QUANTITATIVE OR QUALITATIVE: DATA MUST BE USED SPARINGLY
What we’re seeing now, in our data-driven world, is something akin to a modern-day “gold rush.” But what about the lessons of the past? With a proliferation of data-rich projects, those handling the data tend to overdo it. Thus, while many projects have taken off, others have floundered from their inability to see a genuine purpose beyond the technical possibilities of data.
Before it can be viable and sustainable, data collection requires a solid methodology and structured plan that responds to the needs of operational tests. More importantly, data comes with its own set of challenges: increased costs, little to no change management, an “elite” of experts who are not always able to share or explain their work, complex marketing that often ends in failure and mistrust, the environmental impact of storage and, above all, calculations and the diminished respect for consumers.
Data collection that’s both targeted and economical not only improves analysis but also allows for a fully viable project.
BUILDING A MORE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE APPROACH TO DATA USE
Data is more than a current trend in relationship marketing. It gives marketers the ability to carry out their work in greater depth than before. It is used to create value, achieve new targets and objectives and respond to the technological demands of the profession today.
Yet, in all its richness, data is a massive producer of CO2. Companies must consider the societal and environmental impact of using data as well.
While large volumes of data may seem like a veritable gold mine for relationship marketing, as with any new technology, there is a potential for misuse. With its significant environmental impact, data must be collected, handled and stored with a certain frugality. While this will result in a slight loss of quality in terms of predictions and analyses, it will demonstrate a strong commitment to being socially and environmentally responsible. And that should be immensely appealing from a commercial point of view. These are issues that deserve all our attention because they create a unique opportunity for future generations—if we take the right steps today.