MUMBAI: Leading marketers have argued that data used for communications needs to be relevant, which means being current and being right for the marketing job in question.

Campaign India reported Winnifred Knight, of the South African consultancy Cube (On the Square), as telling the DMAi Convention 2013 in Mumbai, that too much data was collected without considering how it will be used in the future.

"If the intent is to purely send an e-mail or SMS, why do you clutter the database with stuff that you cannot use? Why do you need the physical address and other details?" she asked.

Some forethought was necessary, Knight said. "Understand what use you need to put the data to before you get into the collection exercise."

Meanwhile, Abhay Johorey, head of Airtel Online, told the audience to purge data from non-performing customers. "If a customer doesn't give you profit, you get rid of him," he stated.

He also separated "big data" from "long data". With the latter it was possible to look at how a customer behaved over a period of time, while indicators from baselines could help predict future trends on behaviour.

Johorey noted that "in a data-driven enterprise, four sets of data are hitting marketers at all times: clickstream data, APM data, franchise data and financial data".

All four needed to work together, he said, if marketers were to develop insights that would enhance the consumer experience.

But he cautioned that "being data-driven is not just about analytics", as he observed that consumers adopted different channels for different things.

"Channels have to be leveraged in terms of how they fit into the user ecosystem," he explained.

Knight echoed the point that data did not necessarily give a full picture of a consumer.

"Scratch away the big data and see who you're talking to," she said. "I am not two cars, or three houses. I am one person."

Data sourced from Campaign India; additional content by Warc