Daily Archives: July 12, 2017

Analytics, data science, ethics, robots and GDPR at ‘The Future of Marketing’ event

July 12, 2017

Fascinating perspectives present and future, delivered by The Future of Marketing Initiative, University of Oxford and Teradata

Teradata recently joined forces with Saïd Business School (SBS), University of Oxford to host a day-long conference, part of the Oxford Future of Marketing Initiative led by SBS Associate Dean of Research and L’Oréal Professor of Marketing, Andrew Stephen.

Attended by leaders in marketing and analytics from leading companies including eBay, HSBC, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Gjensidige, and Celebrus, the event focused on consumer insights, digital transformation, plus the role of artificial intelligence (AI), data science and predictive analysis, as well as the impact of regulation for the marketers of tomorrow.

A lively and interactive day of discussion, debate and learning; delegates and academics alike contributed in-depth views and opinions on the exponential change that is being experienced in today’s world of technology. Here are some of the highlights:

The ever-evolving role of data in social and mobile

“If we want to interact with our customers where they are, the reality is that they are increasingly on Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Weibo and WeChat,” commented Martin Willcox, Senior Director, Teradata’s Go-To Market Organisation and event co-host.

Willcox deconstructed the role of data and social media for us, reminding the audience that social and mobile have become such a fundamental part of our everyday lives that it’s easy to forget that Facebook has only been accessible to the public since September 2006, and the iPhone only just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Throughout these past ten years, Teradata has seen the role of data become more significant amongst the social and mobile landscape, moving from simple insight gained from data to more sophisticated analytics where data is leveraged to understand the likes of our peers, colleagues and communities.

According to Willcox, brands competing in today’s fast moving competitive world must not only be open and responsive to the role of data in social and mobile, but must understand the technology customers are using in order to stay ahead of the game. It’s this combined online footprint that defines consumer preferences and buying behaviours.


‘Amazonification’ and the marketing skills challenge

“The right offer has to include great customer service,” Professor Andrew Stephen commented as he opened his session. “’The Amazon Generation’ today expect service in minutes and hours, not days.”

According to Professor Stephen, the retail industry had not been killed off by Amazon, but has done so itself through poor customer service. Consumer expectations have risen to new levels that have not been seen before because of ‘Amazonification’. The rise of social has brought with it ‘Generation Snowflake’ – customers who complain at the slightest issue – “pulling the trigger before thinking about it is also on the rise.”

Faced with this new social-connected world, Professor Stephen gave an overview of the changes and challenges marketing teams must meet. The direction of travel is clear: consumers are spending more-and-more time online – and more-and-more of that time is spent accessing social platforms using mobile devices. Marketers have several challenges to meet amid this new landscape.

Firstly, the marketing skills challenge is huge; brand people need science and data skills and need to be asking themselves how they upskill.

The future of marketing is all about the combination of left brain (data and science) and right brain (art and creativity). CMOs need both to master digital transformation and design exceptionally personalised experiences to propel growth.

According to Professor Stephen, by turning these analogue experiences into digital ones, marketers can also benefit from the increase in data and new touchpoints such as in-store and online apps, which will drive greater customer understanding.

The future will also see more brands investing in tech start-ups to develop new apps to digitise their products and create the ultimate customer experience. Marketing organisations will need to continue to leverage new platforms to know what customers are saying and sharing, and will need to be intrinsically linked to the digital experience so that data insights are at the heart of the marketing organisation.

The new face of marketing in a digital and connected world

Yasmeen Ahmad, Director of Thing Big Analytics, a Teradata company, described how the creative industry is using machine learning and analytics to develop new products and services. Humans will still create the narrative and innovate, and machines will support with data and analytics, providing intelligent automation at scale.

Ahmad explained that in 2017, Sony released its first album created by Artificial Intelligence and Netflix has launched entire series, like ‘House of Cards’, by applying advanced analytics to understand what customers want to see, as well as what will make for a successful product launch.

Consumer brands are launching new scents and flavours as well as coming up with winning combinations based on rich customer insights and trends they have gleaned from having access to huge amounts of data.

According to Ahmad, data is becoming increasingly complex and analysts now have to make sense of more than 50,000 variables within it to gauge what the customer is doing at any given moment. Businesses today need to get this insight and data analysis needs to be delivered in real-time.

For this to happen, businesses are realising they need to adopt some form of automation. Without this, users simply will not be able to make the millions of decisions necessary in today’s marketing environment. Ahmad continued: “The who, why, when and how of marketing campaigns will be automated, and analytics will support this.”

She also indicated that location will be key in determining consumer preferences for the marketer of the future. For example, some companies are deploying roadside billboards that can gain insight from video in order to display customised advertisements depending on the make and model of car passing by.

It’s a great example of how businesses are already using analytics to understand how location and environment influence buying decisions and improve conversion rates.


Consumers and their experiences: dehumanized, re-humanized

“The human-robot partnership will evolve and the jobs which traditionally exist in marketing will not be eradicated, they will change. The customer journey has drastically changed but there is more to come. We will be using robots, but they will also become more human.” This is the vision of Bernd Schmitt, Professor of International Business in the marketing department at Columbia Business School, Columbia University, New York.

Professor Schmitt went on to introduce the audience to Nadine, the robot receptionist, in order to demonstrate exactly how close the robot-human experience is becoming.

 Nadine chatted freely with the professor as to her potential role in healthcare and retail. Though somewhat stilted, her overall appearance was uncannily human, enough to create empathy with the audience. “In a few years, this robot experience will be even more human,” said Professor Schmitt, leaving the audience to ponder the deeper question as to the future role of the human as a species.

The role of the regulator – threat or opportunity?

A topic high on the agenda was the care businesses will need to take when using consumer data in future, as new regulations are introduced.

While some organisations are demonstrating their lack of readiness for GDPR, those that are prepared will recognise clear-cut benefits: consumers will be more likely to trust an organisation that looks after their personal data.

The upside of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is that it will kill off competitive data targeting; the best companies will keep their customer data private. “There will be competitive advantage in being ethical,” said Professor Stephen.

The Oxford Future of Marketing Initiative and the future

The Future of Marketing, a co-hosted event from Oxford University and Teradata, proved an amazing day of academic, industrial and commercial perspective surrounding both the challenges and the opportunities marketing within an increasingly connected-technology landscape.

With the brightest academic minds and high-level industry partners making predictions on new approaches to data and new customer-focused organisations, we learned how to use data in smarter ways. We also learned from the organisations that have been most successful in future-thinking marketing, who have really thought about how to frame the business challenges and opportunities. To these organisations, it’s not just about the data and technology, but change management and process improvement.

Teradata is proud to be an inaugural member of The Future of Marketing Initiative at the Oxford Saїd Business School. Throughout future global events and roundtables – which are planned over the next year – we look forward to addressing the crucial challenges faced by marketers of today and the future.


The future of marketing — is it really all about #data?

July 12, 2017

shutterstock_259500548I recently co-hosted a one-day event with Professor Andrew Stephen at Oxford Saïd Business School. I’m lucky enough to be invited to a lot of events where I can learn from people much smarter than me, but this event was something special. The Future of Marketing brought together a brilliant and diverse range of speakers from across industry and academia. It isn’t every day that you get to hear and debate with speakers from eBay, HSBC, STC, Gjensidige, Celebrus, Columbia University and Oxford Saïd Business School. We plan to run more of these events in the near future — and if this one is anything to go by, you should definitely find a way to attend the next one!

Writing my speech for the opening remarks, I began thinking about how marketing has changed in the 20-odd years that I’ve been in the data game. In this short series of blogs, I thought I would share those thoughts with those of you that weren’t able to join us in Oxford.

Let me say straightaway that I am principally a technologist. I started my career in data and analytics in retail a little over two decades ago. Within four months I was working on a major loyalty analytics project for a top-four UK grocery retailer. I later delivered multiple customer analytics projects at another UK retailer — and since joining Teradata 13 years ago, I have worked on yet more customer analytics projects across multiple industries and geographies.

An “outside-in” view of marketing

So, whilst I have lots of relevant experience, the lens I bring to all of this is defined by the frame of reference of a technologist. I am a data guy, not a marketing exec — and what follows is an “outside-in” view of marketing.

In the last two decades, lots of buzzwords have come and gone in customer-centric marketing. We used to talk about “1-2-1 marketing” and “segmentation of one”, before speaking about a “single customer view”. Later, we were concerned with a “360-degree view of the customer”, then “analytical CRM”. Today, no presentation about digital marketing is complete without a reference to “omnichannel”. But what really changed through all those successive hype cycles?

I think that four things have changed — and one thing has remained the same.

Mo’ channels, mo’ problems

The first thing that is clearly different is the rise of new digital channels — specifically the internet and, more recently, social and mobile.

Social and mobile are already so ubiquitous that it is easy to forget that these channels are only a decade old. Facebook was founded in 2004 — but was only made accessible to the public in September 2006. The iPhone was exactly 10 years old on 29 June this year.

Today, social and mobile are an exponential phenomenon. That means measurements intended to quantify their impact are obsolete almost as soon as they are published. What we can say for certain is that roughly half the global population is already online; that recent growth has been fuelled by new users in developing nations like India and China, many of whom have never owned a PC or a laptop, but who do own a smartphone, and that social channels and platforms continue to show exponential growth, especially IM and chat platforms.

The direction of travel is clear: Consumers are spending more and more time online — and more and more of that time is spent accessing social platforms using mobile devices. If we want to meet our customers where they are — well increasingly they are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Weibo, and WeChat.

Data, data everywhere

The second thing that’s new, or at least different, is that many of these new channels come with data. A lot of data. Importantly, these data also describe interactions, rather than data that merely record the fact of a transaction.

What we might refer to as ‘big data’s first new wave’ was mostly about how the big e-commerce properties — Amazon, eBay, Rakuten, Yahoo Japan, Alibaba and the rest — were able to leverage clickstream data to understand customer behaviour. In this way, the big e-commerce properties were able to understand not merely what customers had purchased — the story that that traditional transaction data could anyway already tell us — but what they had browsed and not bought, what they had bought for themselves and what they had purchased as gifts for others, whether customer reviews had been important in their decision-making process, the “golden paths” through websites that led to conversion, the paths that led to abandonment, etc., etc., etc.

In this way, e-commerce platforms were able to understand not just what customers had purchased, but how and why those purchases had been made, or what at Teradata we often refer to as “the customer journey”. This enabled “mass customisation”. When you and I visit an e-commerce platform, we now often have very different experiences, partly because the web pages we are served are customised to reflect the behaviours and preferences expressed during previous visits — and partly because these sites are effectively run as a continuous series of A/B experiments.

Arguably the big e-commerce platforms don’t have one primary website anymore, rather they have several — and they are able to continuously measure what is most appealing to different segments and to react accordingly.

Big data’s second new wave

‘Big data’s second new wave’ was all about social analytics — and note that for us at Teradata, social media analytics is a subset of social analytics. By leveraging clickstream data, plus social data in some cases, organisations like Amazon, LinkedIn, and Netflix have been able to understand not just our individual preferences as expressed in our interactions with their websites, but also the preferences and likes of our peers, friends, and neighbours. Every time you accept an invitation to a new professional network, or buy a product based on a “people like you” type recommendation, you are part of big data’s second new wave.

Years ago, Accenture coined the phrase “scientific retailing”. Today, the websites of the big e-commerce properties really are vast labs. Is customer conversion rate improved if the colour and location on the web page of the “buy it now” button are changed? Does algorithm A produce better product recommendations than algorithm B? Which segments are least price-sensitive — and how much of a premium can these customers be charged? Do scarcity counters increase revenue per customer? For which product / customer segment combinations? Today, the major e-commerce players can ask-and-answer these questions continuously and in near real-time.

Big data’s third new wave

Big data’s third new wave is all about the internet of things (IoT). As Andrew pointed out during his presentation at the Future of Marketing event, IoT is enabling the digitisation of analogue experiences — think Disney’s smart wristband or indoor-location services.

A decade ago, the internet pure plays could out-compete their bricks-and-mortar rivals — in part because they had actionable interaction data, whilst the bricks-and-mortar crowd did not.

Today, online companies are investing in bricks-and-mortar (witness Amazon’s physical bookstores and acquisition of Whole Foods). At the same time, the bricks-and-mortar brigade have gone online (you can now buy a BMW from the comfort of your armchair, stepping into the dealership only to grab the keys to drive away in your pride-and-joy). The distinction between “online” and “offline” is fast disappearing, as everything is becoming digitised.

Will this erosion of the distinction between “online” and “offline” favour the established e-commerce platforms, with their long experience of mining behavioural data, or will it act as a great leveller, enabling the more established players to achieve the same understanding of customer behaviour as their newer rivals?

That’s all for now. In the next instalment, we’ll pick up where we left off by examining how consumer expectations have been reset by the digerati — and what the internet and social media mean for brand ownership.

***note this is the first in a series of posts from Martin on the future of marketing.


Martin Willcox – Senior Director, Go to Market Organisation (Teradata)

Martin is a Senior Director in Teradata’s Go-To Market organisation, charged with articulating to prospective customers, analysts and media organisations Teradata’s strategy and the nature, value and differentiation of Teradata technology and solution offerings.

Martin has 21 years of experience in the IT industry and is listed in dataIQ’s “Big Data 100” as one of the most influential people in UK data-driven business. He has worked for 5 organisations and was formerly the Data Warehouse Manager at Co-operative Retail in the UK and later the Senior Data Architect at Co‑operative Group.

Since joining Teradata, Martin has worked in Solution Architecture, Enterprise Architecture, Demand Generation, Technology Marketing and Management roles. Prior to taking-up his current appointment, Martin led Teradata’s International Big Data CoE – a team of Data Scientists, Technology and Architecture Consultants tasked withassisting Teradata customers throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia to realise value from their Big Data assets.

Martin is a former Teradata customer who understands the Analytics landscape and marketplace from the twin perspectives of an end-user organisation and a technology vendor. His Strata (UK) 2016 keynote can be found at: https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/the-internet-of-things-its-the-sensor-data-stupid and a selection of his Teradata Voice Forbes blogs can be found online, including this piece on the importance – and the limitations – of visualisation.

Martin holds a BSc (Hons) in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Sheffield and a Postgraduate Certificate in Computing for Commerce and Industry from the Open University. He is married with three children and is a lapsed supporter of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.  In his spare time, Martin enjoys playing with technology,flying gliders, photography and listening to guitar music.

Defining the CDO: Gatekeeper vs Innovator

July 12, 2017


In the not-too-distant past, data didn’t even appear on the corporate agenda. However, in recent years, big data has fueled board and executive awareness of the potential for data driven opportunities. This level of awareness has inevitably resulted in greater scrutiny of data quality, accuracy, transparency and privacy and further regulatory and compliance reporting.

However, as Usama Fayyad, the world’s first Chief Data Officer (CDO) at Yahoo determined, “it’s not just about internal decisions from data; it’s what can we provide the customers in terms of data.

Fayyad initially invented the CDO title as a joke with ex-Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, but he makes a valid point with the definition. To be able to transform data acumen into new business opportunities, companies must recognize that the opportunity is not just in accessing data, but in driving significant business value from data, which means truly understanding analytics.

Today it’s clear that data is widely recognized as a tool for competitive advantage. This explosion in big data to fuel business outcomes has meant the establishment and inevitable rise of the role of the CDO.

But what exactly does a CDO do? It’s a common question, and one that many people are curious about.

The most successful CDOs use data and analytics to drive business value. By proliferating analytics throughout a business, a CDO can use insight gained from data to create strategic advantage as well as maintain a competitive edge.

This means striking a balance between Gatekeeper vs Innovator. The role of the CDO requires a good sense of equilibrium between the responsibilities associated with both gatekeeper and innovator. As gatekeeper, the CDO is focused on importance of developing and managing to a data strategy, defining and implementing a data governance process, and ensuring regulatory compliance. Security is a key concern.

However, as Tom Davenport  advises, “defense is a tricky area to inhabit as CDO, because if you succeed and prevent breaches and privacy problems and security issues, no one necessarily gives you any credit for it or even knows if your work was successful. And If you fail, it is obviously very visible and bad for your career.” CDOs need to supplement defense with offense – carrying out analytics, adding value to information and digitalizing data products.

Innovation and business transformation – the onus will be on the Chief Data Officer to define and execute an organizational data vision, and chart a future that drives business value. To do so, the CDO must:

  • Deliver data directly into the hands of business analysts in seconds not minutes, hours not days, and days not weeks or months.
  • Champion iterative learning –test-and-learn; fail fast, learn faster – “quick wins” that build organizational credibility, alignment, and momentum, and demonstrate tangible business value.

As a CDO, you can be defensive about data and meet all the regulations, governance and security requirements – but this delivers no value to the business. It is the creation of data driven insights for the business, monetization of data and analytics that creates value and a truly competitive edge.

Click here for part two of Yasmeen’s “Age of the Machine” series.

Yasmeen AhmadYasmeen Ahmad – Director of CEUKIR, Think Big Analytics, a Teradata company

Yasmeen is a strategic business leader in the area of data and analytics consulting, named as one of the top 50 leaders and influencers for driving commercial value from data in 2017 by Information Age.

Leading the Business Analytic Consulting Practice at Teradata, Yasmeen is focused on working with global clients across industries to determine how data driven decisioning can be embedded into strategic initiatives. This includes helping organisations create actionable insights to drive business outcomes that lead to benefits valued in the multi-millions.

Yasmeen is responsible for leading more than 60 consultants across Central Europe, UK&I and Russia in delivering analytic services and solutions for competitive advantage through the use of new or untapped sources of data, alongside advanced analytical and data science techniques.

Yasmeen also holds a PhD in Data Management, Mining and Visualization, carried out at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation & Expression. Her work is published in several international journals and was recognised by the Sir Tim Hunt Prize for Cell Biology. Yasmeen has written regularly for Forbes and is a speaker at international conferences and events.