NEW YORK: Harnessing the power of big data promises to enhance the status of marketers in major companies, but this will only be achieved if legacy working practices are transformed, a paper from Warc argues.

What we know about researching consumers suggests the swathe of information now available through social media, mobile and similar channels will offer the greatest payback to firms pursuing a truly holistic strategy.

"Digital commerce brings with it challenges including handling large amounts of data," it argues.

"For marketers, that means creating a data-driven culture throughout the company, extending their sphere of influence far beyond traditional communications."

Edward Jones, the financial services group, has made significant progress here by combining data from across its entire business with every client transaction and interaction, Brad Iversen, its chief marketing officer, said.

"We then pull all those together and use predictive modelling to provide our financial advisers with what other types of services and what other needs their clients might have," he told the ANA.

"That gives the advisers the opportunity to follow up with their clients and have a conversation."

As demonstrated by this example, identifying precisely which material is appropriate for specific initiatives – from aggregate-level statistics to granular details – is an essential task for marketers.

More broadly, they will need to develop real-time systems capable of integrating multichannel customer activity, enhancing customer engagement, retention and loyalty, and optimising marketing performance.

As the craft of marketing becomes numerically-driven, so practitioners can also employ hard metrics to explain their decisions and secure buy-in from senior executives.

But that requires "stepping out of the marketing department and speaking the language of business, and understanding how the organisation's leaders evaluate advertising to align marketing activities to business outcomes," the paper adds.

Anther vital point to remember, Warc's paper says, is that the use of data must put the consumer first, and be placed in the wider context shaping their choices, an area where conventional research retains a key role.

Data sourced from Warc