Data must not come in the way of creativity: CVL Srinivas
Data use is evolving, swiftly growing and transforming the Indian marketing industry. The current state and future of the global data landscape with specific emphasis on India was the focus of the day-long WPP India Data Summit – ‘Date with Data’ – held in Mumbai yesterday (October 16, 2017).
Spearheaded by WPP India, alongside WPP’s Data Alliance, ‘Date with Data’ comprised of morning Masterclasses for mid-level WPP professionals as well as clients, while the afternoon panel discussions were targeted at senior marketers, partners and the WPP Fraternity.
The Summit provided all attendees with a reference for understanding consumers, creating ROI for clients, and growing businesses within an evolving technological landscape.
The day began with curated Masterclasses on Data Visualisation - To Drive Data Adoption And Data Driven Thinking; Building A Data Driven Organisation; Unlocking The True Potential Of Mobile Data; Data Privacy And Responsibility And Connecting Data (Data Integration) and Generating Targeted Insights (Data Analysis). These sessions were conducted by experts from Google Cloud, InMobi, Kantar and Data Alliance.
The afternoon comprised four panel discussions, where speakers and panelists discussed and evaluated the influences of data through topics such as Decoding The Consumer: Fundamentals to Future, which will address advancements in insights, research and analytics; Connected Commerce: Decoding The Last Mile, which will highlight how data and analytics are being leveraged to bridge the gaps in commerce; Audience Planning: A Journey Or A Destination, whichtouched upon innovative approaches of using data and lastly, Data As a Source of Creative Expression, which will explore how data can be used to inspire creative content and communication planning.
Adgully caught up with CVL Srinivas, Country Manager, WPP, at the event to know more about the various aspects of data that are driving marketing strategies today, as well as how this first one-day event is focused on establishing WPP as an innovative and collaborative thought leader in the evolving Indian data market. Excerpts:
Programmatic has automated media planning and buying. In what aspects of digital will data driven marketing achieve the same end?
Programmatic had occurred some years ago and it is an automated way of delivering advertising to consumers. What we are talking about here is data and what it can do at a macro level. We believe that businesses have to reinvent themselves for the future. They basically need to start leveraging data a lot more than in the past. Firstly, there is a lot more data available today for businesses than in the past. Having said that, data is raw material which is available to everybody in every shape and form. I think what is more important is what you can do with the data. First of all how can you be responsible with data, how can you follow all the new data privacy laws? For example, how can you get the right insights from that data and how do you apply all that to benefit your business? This summit is all about taking a sort of macro view of data and how it can impact a business and what you can do to get the best out of it.
What will be the evolving role of a marketer if data driven decision making is integrated effectively into an organisation?
Surely, marketers’ role has changed quite a bit over the last few years. I think today CMOs need to be extremely well versed with technology first and foremost. Not only well versed with technology, but also with all the different types of data that is available both within the organisation and outside. By marrying the different types of data he or she can grow the business. The role has not just changed but also gotten more interesting. This is true for agencies as well. Agencies in the past were more concerned with creating the messaging and delivering the media for their clients. In a true sense they were the agents, but I think today they need to be the agents of change; agencies need to capitalise on the chaos that is there in the markets. If they get their act together and make investments, work with the right technology partners. I think it is also a wonderful opportunity for agencies to reinvent themselves and become business partners to their clients.
The platform that we have today is an attempt to bring together our clients and people within WPP operating companies and our partners; today you have them sitting in the same room and discussing topics that are very important to the growth of any business – our clients business, our industry’s business – and it is interesting to get different perspectives on each of these very important topics. At WPP, we are playing our role to shaping the thinking in this market, trying to get our clients and our people more future ready.
How will data disrupt strategic communication?
First of all, data must not come in the way of creativity, rather it needs to enhance creativity, and that’s the way people who use data need to look at it. The minute you start trading off data for creativity, it is not going to work for a business. In fact, there is a danger of over-relying on data, which was discussed in many of the panels today. At the end of day, the marketing gut or the power of the idea is still extremely critical to build a business or build a brand. Data and technology should only try and strengthen that and not come in the way.
What need gaps have to be addressed to build a data centric organisation?
Different clients are at different stages of evolution. In our experience, it is first and foremost important to do a data audit to understand what all data the organisation has. We find in many instances that organisations are not even aware as to what is available to them. That is the starting point. After that it is important to look at what data is available in the ecosystem with other partners and then try and see what you really want to get out of all of this. What are the strategic decisions you want to take, obviously it needs to start with some kind of hypothesis. Whether it is about your business or your brand, new products or new distribution channels, etc. Once you know what you want to get out of it and broadly the areas you want to get into, then you string together different sources of data and get the right kind of insights out of them. That’s the piece that we say is evolving and what happens before and after that is our existing practices of applying that either to media or messaging or new product development or whatever else. Then the application happens.