Data is dialogue

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It’s tempting to think of data as cold, hard numbers, but these days data is much more than that. When used properly, data can yield vivid insights about individual customers, revealing preferences, sentiment and even personality traits. These insights can then facilitate a more meaningful conversation between customers and the companies that serve them. For a business of any scale, personal relationships with customers are rare. Data can fill in missing details.

A full 77 percent of those who attended the 2012 New York and Paris CMO+CIO Leadership Exchanges agreed that marketers have a mandate to understand customers as individuals.1 Customers provide the raw material to fulfill that mandate when they state or imply their preferences through online input and social media behavior. And these data allow a company to build a more complete picture of who is buying its products and services, and why.

In fact, online behaviors can be far more accurate and revealing than face-to-face interactions.2 For example, a customer may prefer to purchase a product on a particular day of the week or time of the year, without even being aware of the preference themselves. When used to make a customer’s life easier—to offer them marketing as a service for saving them money, increasing convenience or teaching them something new, for example—this insight can foster a closer connection with a brand. This connection can lead to new products and services that address customers’ needs, which in turn can yield even more data from their reactions and input

Marketing must be aligned with IT
Ken Valledy
AB InBev Europe

“I want data to give me a closer relationship with the consumer because the future of our brands lies in our consumer…and I think data helps us get closer, if we use it properly…Nowadays you have to have more of a dialogue with the consumer.”


Edward Boches

“Data creates huge opportunities to understand our customers and actually serve them.”

Fernando Chacon
Banco Itaú

“We’ve been using analytics to guide our marketing decisions for a long time. Our decisions on what products and services to offer and how best to foster relationships is based on an in-depth understanding of our customers, their aspirations, necessities and habits.”

Kristin Russell
State of Colorado

“This isn’t really a matter of technology anymore. It’s anthropology. All this noise about big data and analytics? It’s really just about understanding human behavior.”

Michael Oldham
University of California, San Francisco

“There’s a lot to be learned by taking a step back and letting the data tell its own story.”


1Polling results from the New York and Paris CMO+CIO Leadership Exchanges

2Interview with Stephen Dubner, author of Superfreakonomics

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