Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
At the recent Online Media and Marketing Association (OMMA) Data Driven Marketing conference, Julie Bernard, group VP of Consumer Centricity for Direct Marketing and Loyalty at Macy's, sent a buzz through the crowd by her admission that human judgment still has value at the company, despite data collection and analysis efforts being a priority.
Macy's executives recently realized that they had enough data to customize print ads, but found it too expensive, she explained. But the retailer also returned to traditional marketing methods for another reason: Executives believed advertising that was "too relevant" might start to be too predictable. Additionally, customers sometimes look at marketing pieces for fashion inspiration. "If it's too relevant they don't get it."
Still, the overall message delivered by several retail data executives at the conference was that maybe "Big Data" doesn't have to be so big. Retailers today need to break Big Data down to create actionable data. In doing so, they can improve multichannel customer experiences.
"Data has become an issue for retailers because mobile and social media lack traditional structure," said Greg Corso, VP of Media Solutions at dunnhumby. "The velocity and volume of those inputs is incredible. It's all worth nothing if you can't act on it. Omnichannel attribution has become paramount. Retailers need to spend more time measuring and analyzing online behavior to see how it affects in-store behavior."
Judy Loschen, VP at Epsilon, detailed her work with a retail client that sent unscheduled emails every Thursday. Tied to the weakest weekly product category, e-mail messages were converting for the first three months, but customer churn and unsubscribe rate were leading to diminishing and destructive patterns. The e-mails were stopped. When they were restarted, however, customer value and open rate rebounded.
"Data affects customer messaging relevance and frequency," Ms. Loschen said. "Data is not just a short-term revenue driving tactic. It's a key factor in long-term strategy."
What's the likelihood that increasingly sophisticated customer data analysis will ultimately lead to overly predictable ads?