Six Reasons Why Marketing Agencies Need Big Data and GDPR controls

For any modern digital Marketing Agency, Big Data does not mean merely large volumes.

Rather it is the intelligent widening of ‘data scope’ – integrating demographics, social media scans, open source data, images and video captures. There’s a lot out there! Social media offers a myriad of advertising and engagement opportunities – SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. – but even these channels and the data possibilities need filtering. Recent changes in Sales Navigator within LinkedIn may open routes to reach new executive influence channels too.

So your client’s marketing director may ask: “Where are my ‘promoters’ and ‘detractors’ and what are they saying?”

But there’s something else looming on the horizon that every one of your Client marketing directors need to be considering and that the directors of top Marketing Agencies should be preparing for.

GDPR – new Data Protection Regulation – comes into force in May 2018, and we will all need to be very clear and be able to evidence that we only hold the essential data, for the right length of time, for the right purpose and only with explicit client permissions.

Without permission, much consumer data, not vital to the life of a transaction, must be deleted or archived. Security and the use of pseudonyms will be more important than ever, as permitted data sets are shared across locations. Data list sellers will have to radically change their approach, or cease to operate as they have done so until now.

So, with more data than ever before at the disposal of results-driven marketing directors, and impending changes on how we hold and use data about to impact on us all, here are my six ‘big wins’ that I believe canny Marketing Agency Directors should be acting on now to reap the benefits of big data for their clients and ensuring GDPR compliance along the way.

  1. Help your clients retain customers and sell more

All good agencies will want to do more than just advise on brand and product launches. Adding in survey data and outcomes from fieldwork is good. But by gathering more data about your clients’ buyers – whether consumers or businesses – you can help them plan how to cross and up-sell, and build and retain relationships. There are often predictive factors you can gather and add to the data taken from any of their systems, even the latest CRM models.

  1. Help your clients’ marketing directors improve return on investment on marketing spend

It is often a challenge for marketing directors to convince their peers – finance directors, CEOs and sales directors – that their budget spend is justified. Getting IT to spend in this area is never easy. Sharpening the targeting and ROI outcomes for new campaigns by adding in externally sourced data, from census and geo-demographic sources for instance, can demonstrate the real worth of your Agency’s work and the genuine returns on investment for your clients.

  1. Help clients identify and engage new markets for products and services

If a new segment is being targeted, an Agency can help by aggregating enough information to refine the tactics to use for different and very specific audiences, and the precise channels to use. Combining survey data or fieldwork, to existing customer profiles, can yield data of great value when selecting new cohorts for targeting.

  1. Help them understand their clients’ customer data better

Many client internal transactional computer systems have only allowed for the capture of enough data to support a quotation, or order placement by their customers. Sometimes this is time-expedient and because nobody thought ahead about what information might be of future use, the quality and content is not always that good. Gathering, enhancing quality, and adding in data from other sources can fill some of these gaps in knowledge. In the E-Commerce world many SMEs are confused by diverse data structures held when merging and recording trades through top quality systems such as E-Bay, Amazon, Shopify, Infusionsoft and SalesForce – let alone linking records to leading Web systems like SiteCore, marketing engines like Marketo, mailing systems like Mailchimp or accounting systems like Xero.

  1. Help them understand their Clients’ customers’ buying behaviour, Lifetime Value and triggers to purchase, even when it is a B2B sale.

Selling brown goods through a retailer leaves a manufacturer with basic information only on warranty guarantee cards or insurance policy details. Is even this data held and valued, or extended? The second sale should be easier, and multiple product sales over a five-year period can be valued in any Lifetime Value calculation.

When was the product bought? At what life stage was the client? What triggered the purchase and will this be re-triggered?

Digging deep into related data elements that can be captured by astute planning will yield enormous benefits. Support programmes for manufacturers who rely on retail or wholesale distribution chains, yet resent the power that the retailer holds over data – e.g. in loyalty cards – can be developed.

  1. Help them understand hidden purchase barriers

Taking care not to fall foul of GDPR Data Protection, there are opportunities to drill into data about obstacles to buying. The elements to be considered, all needed for Artificial Intelligence algorithms, can include life stage, past purchases, call centre dialogues, competition, age, family unit, employer and employment status, hobbies, holidays, car brand and ownership, house location and value, and general wealth profiles. However if you intend to hold, for justified transactional reasons, sensitive data on health, biometrics cultural factors, religion and ethnicity, express permission must be gained.

DataWise Intelligence are experts in helping Marketing Agencies apply Big Data techniques (under strict GDPR guidelines) so as an Agency you can do an even better job for your clients, incorporating the leading marketing classification systems and codes so past relationship investments are protected.

If you’d like to speak to one of our data experts, get in touch for a FREE 30-minute consultation. Call 01392 343111 or email