New channel, but a 1980s mentality

Wow, isn’t the new age of digital marketing so exciting for the data professional? Loads of new metrics, types of data, volumes of instantaneous customer numerical and textual sound bites to store, manipulate, masticate over and hopefully provide actionable insight upon.

But the biggest barrier to real insight and connectivity of customer information I can see is the people often commissioned by advertisers to create the vehicle to allow the opportunity to collect this valuable information. Data which could be a goldmine for clients, but turns out to be a shallow pool of soggy mud.

What type of people set-up short term customer data collection mechanisms, beautifully designed and constructed to create a myopic view of the consumer’s life? What type of people only see one dimension of customer analysis, that of macro level reports from Google Analytics? What people only see what they do in isolation from other activity and the possibility that the response to their micro site is the cumulative effect of a multitude of touch-points and possibly years of brand equity? What type of people often see the detailed data they collect on behalf of the client as a throwaway by-product and someone else’s problem at best?

The people I am referring to are those digital agencies who claim to be only “creative”. And there are hundreds of so-called agencies, abusing their position of customer data custodians. They act like 1980’s sales promotion agencies, who used to collect response from off-the-page ads and then use the response coupon as the product delivery label, without bothering to capture the names and addresses of the response device.

So many boutique digital agencies seem not to be even mildly interested in the concept of database marketing, single customer views and basic customer analysis. These new agencies need to stop being arrogant and stating they are the new wave of media and grasp the axioms of customer data and their responsibility to the client to use data wisely.

Even if the ethical position of advising the client correctly does not wash with these people, then commercially it would make their position with the client far better as they stop being just creative and become strategic. End of rant.

By Huw Davis, managing director, Huw Davis Partnership

Readers' comments (1)

  • Huw makes a good point. I have experienced at first hand the difficulty digital agencies have in passing on response data in anything like a form I could use to add to my customer' database.

    It eventaully became clear that aside from producing great looking automated standardised reports, their basic data handling capabilities were often woeful.

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