MAD//Fest 2019 | Putting creativity into data-driven marketing

By: Lauren Smartt

21st November 2019

Last week at the London MAD//Fest 2019 our Head of Strategic Services, David Coombs, moderated a panel with NIVEA and Samsung, discussing how these brands approach data-driven marketing to create greater brand loyalty and personalisation, in light of our new research report, Perfecting the Echo Chamber.

David opened the session by discussing the current disconnect between what brands want to do and when customers want to be interacted with when it comes to personalisation – and how this is largely driven by a sense of the unknown when it comes to what brands are doing with consumer data.

“In general, consumers were happy to share their data – 74% said they were comfortable – or not against – sharing data with brands,” David explained, “The challenge came when we tried to crystalise what they wanted in return. When we gave them a list of options of what they’d like to see in return [for giving up their data], none of the above came out as the most popular choice.

“It demonstrates an interesting tension; you have consumers who are willing to share data, but at the same time, are not impressed with what they’re getting back.”

David also spoke about the importance of differentiation in personalisation and targeting, not only in definition, but also the effectiveness of each strategy:

“Targeting is very useful from a short-term gain perspective, but from a long term perspective we have to think about how do we get a little bit smarter around these strategies and how do we start to remove ourselves from the echo chamber and inject a little more surprise and delight, while tailoring to these experiences.”

Opening it up to the panel, David asked Joe Comiskey, Head of Digital Northern Europe and Head of Media at NIVEA, how important data-driven marketing and personalisation is to the overall strategy at the brand.

“The way that we are going to get through to people is by driving relevancy, and the biggest way you can do that is through personalisation,” said Joe, “The biggest difference [compared to targeting] is that personalisation is driven by data that people want to give you, it’s a lot more powerful. You’ve got a responsibility to give value back to the consumer, as well as a legal one.We know that’s the way we’re going to be able to drive our loyalty going forward.”

“We’re a less considered purchase being an FMCG versus something like a mobile phone, so people do tend to be a lot less loyal,” he added, “They’ll switch around so communication can make a big difference to people’s perception of the brand.”

Joe cited a recent example of when this has worked successfully for NIVEA. Understanding Mother’s Day can be a sensitive time for some people and families, their marketing team sent out an email to its database, giving them the option to opt out of specific Mother’s Day communication and content. According to Joe, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

“We had one the highest ever engagement rates from that [email],” he explained, “And not just from people saying yes or no to receiving the content, but also personal emails saying it was a really caring thing for the brand to have done. It’s difficult because we don’t have a lot of first-party, especially sales, data but definitely from what people were saying, the sentiment was this is exactly why they want to stay loyal to NIVEA as a brand.

He added: “It’s simple things like that that can make a massive difference for people.”

Reflecting on where NIVEA is at in its own personalisation journey, Joe admitted the FMCG industry has some way to go, but there is big ambition in the space. He said:

“People don’t necessarily have that same personal connection with an FMCG brand versus their phone, their car or those bigger purchases. But data becomes one of the biggest challenges [in personalisation] in terms of how we make sure we’re collecting the right data, using it in the right way, to deliver the right message.”

Speaking to Nick White, Director of Online at Samsung, David asked how the brand was successfully setting up strategies to prioritise brand loyalty and personalisation at Samsung.

“One of the big challenges is organisational structure,” said Nick “In most big corporates you go, ‘who owns the customer’ and you get 30 hands up. We’ve now got a much better set up. I’ve had a lot of support from the business to bring in great people. Like most brands, we are committed to building better customer relationships, whereas the business model 10 years ago would have said ‘leave it to somebody else’. We spend a lot of time looking at how we pull together all our data, from all our disparate pots, to ensure we can give our consumers the best possible experience of Samsung.”

Reflecting on some of the challenges, Nick added: “Trying to get money to build data and invest in cookie data [is a challenge], so we focus the business case on media efficiency. If I can say ‘Because I can see that Dave has done X, Y and Z across our platforms, I don’t need to spend any more on retargeting ads – so I’m going to save you 10% of your media money’ that’s quite a good place to start, rather than selling this end-to-end beautiful dream that I’m going to get 20% uplift in conversion.”

The panel discussed the importance of internal buy-in for better data collection, and helped the audience understand how to better creatively leverage their data to drive brand loyalty.