SINGAPORE: Marketers are too focused on data and neglect the consumers and audience behind them – one reason that digital transformation has so far missed the boat, according to a top L’Oréal executive.

Jee Seon Park, APAC Media & Digital Director for the beauty brand, addressed this topic at the recent All That Matters Conference, where she argued that “There is a lot of misunderstanding over digital transformation and business transformation”.

“What we are really confusing – especially for the agencies and marketers – is that we put the data first instead of the consumers and audience,” she said (For more details, read WARC’s report: How McDonald’s, L’Oréal and Unilever approach media transparency.)

“A clear understanding of the audience and leveraging how to use those data sets to understand consumers, to get closer to the consumers, needs to be more prioritised instead of just, 'How can I use the data?',” Park averred.

And she didn’t exempt her own company from this criticism. “For us [at L’Oréal], we are very immature in terms of the collection of data and utilising it,” she admitted.

While there is a need to have a clear strategy around this, the process is not helped by the plethora of non-standard metrics available from different platforms and publishers.

“When you make a post-buy plan, it is really difficult to understand what the right metrics are,” she noted. “Year on year, you cannot use the same metrics, because the metric may have worked yesterday, but it won't work for this year.”

Accordingly, she called for more simplified metrics and a third party research company to supply a transparent view. “That's really lacking compared to TV where we can get… very consistent metrics,” she said.

There is also an educational requirement, she suggested, as marketers need to understand not only what data means, but also how it concerns the organisation, and what metrics to use.

“We need to talk to the marketer who works in the day-to-day business side, [whose] level of knowledge around digital is still very low,” she stated.

“Especially when we talk about data, they'll say, 'What is the data you mean? Still we talk about cookies.' There is a huge amount of data outside of cookies."

Sourced from WARC