Day 1 of Ad:Tech 2022 saw Sonia Khurana, COO, Digitas, Rubeena Singh, country manager, Josh, and Monaz Todywalla, CEO, PHD India discuss the importance (and obstacles) of unification data for businesses, consumer expectations of digital, and more…
The conference was moderated by Sumeet Singh, CMO, Info Edge.
Consumer digital expectations
As digital consumption increases, consumer expectations also increase.
Speaking of expecting the bare minimum, Singh recalled a recent incident she faced while shopping online. “I wanted to buy a lamp from a site I often buy from. They had my number but not my email because it was not mapped together. I couldn’t log in so I clicked on the whatsapp icon which was for customer service, wrote to them and told them about the problem, they made me tell the whole story, only to tell me they couldn’t help, before redirecting me to customer service. I was frustrated.”
Singh added that she knew the brand’s marketing manager and wrote to him, instead of taking to social media (to share her experience), which would be her usual choice. “That’s the reality. We’ve all had experiences like this. It happens because there’s no unified data. The data is there across the different teams but not put together and a lot of businesses realize this now.”
Obstacles to data unification
Getting to the tricky side, Todywalla agreed that there is a lot of data, but also said no one gets wisdom from that data.
“What are we going to do with this unique vision of the consumer? The board directors and the head of marketing have very different views on what they want. The sales manager is the least interested in what we’re going to do. The CMI (Consumer and Market Insights) team is also on a completely different journey than what they think is going to happen, while the CRM (customer relationship management) guy doesn’t want to share the data,” she said.
Todywalla opined that everyone wants a single utopian view of the consumer, not understanding what that view will do for them. “Who owns this data becomes the number one challenge for all marketing functions. You need the right talent and investment behind the Single Source of Truth (SSOT) journey. Implementing it is important.
Agreeing with Todywalla, Sumeet Singh shared that the data is not only fragmented but full of noise, which needs to be removed to get the right information. Speaking about who bears it the most, she said: “It’s infuriating for the marketing department or the digital director who is mandated by the CEO or management to facilitate this whole piece. We all want to unify our perspective, but all departments look at different data sources that have different values. »
Khurana imagined bringing people with different KPIs together in one room, and couldn’t think of a better word than tricky. However, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, she explained that looking at it all from the customer’s perspective is a good start. “It’s easy to get alignment when you have a single entity that you have the discussion around, instead of my personal KPIs or departmental KPIs,” she added.
Using the example of a “digitally mature” client from her previous role as head of an agency, Singh explained how her former client began to follow suit. “While the structure didn’t exist, they all got together and worked on the data. The interesting observation was that they made decisions and made big bets, even in terms of money. Even when they realized they had made a mistake, they admitted it and moved on to something new, which was broader and led to data unification.
“Companies need to think about it a little more strategically, instead of dividing their functions. To become customer-centric, they need to reorganize,” Singh added.
However, looking at how companies hoard data, Todywalla said capturing unnecessary data that won’t even be used is nothing short of a crime.
Is SSOT a myth or a truth?
Todywalla joked that even though the conversations around SSOT started in 2017, there is no one solution for them when there should have been ten. When asked if SSOT was a truth or a myth, she replied, “We have a long way to go. It could be a reality, even if it isn’t yet. My advice is don’t get stuck with SSOT. Each business has to decide for themselves if this will work for them. »
For Khurana, this is a reality that must now go beyond concept, to execution. “SSOT sounds like a big term, but if you break it down, it’s the pace and energy behind it that will determine how quickly companies get there.”
It’s an absolute need for Singh, who believes that while it’s not a reality, companies should make it a reality due to growing consumer impatience, who would be lost to competition if companies don’t. do not act accordingly.
Speaking about the importance of SSOT, Todywalla said it is a necessary concept in any business practice, even though most companies don’t see it.
However, Khurana concluded by stating that data unification is more necessary for making sound business decisions to help companies spend their marketing dollars in the right way.