ORLANDO, FL: Hershey, the confectionery company, is taking a nuanced approach to scrutinising the data it receives in a bid to ensure its quality and drive future progress in this space.

Charles Chappell, the Hershey Co.’s head of global media and agency excellence, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2018 Media Conference.

“We don’t control our retail chain at all … And getting data can be difficult. So, we have to think outside the box,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Hershey masters recency in a sea of data.)

A case in point: “We all deal with this issue of walled gardens. Am I satisfied, overall, with their data analytics that come out? No, we still have a long way to go,” he said.

“We continue to challenge to get more – to keep pushing, to say, ‘what is the algorithm behind the data you’re getting us?’”

Even with more traditional publishers, “it’s more about pushing to get more information and asking if they’re even able to collect it. When they promise that ‘more is coming,’ I still say, ‘can you prove it to me yet?’

“People have come to us with data about our category, but when we really dug into it, some of the assumptions they made were wrong ... There are times when we’ve trusted too early and been burned a little bit when we saw the results on the back end.”

But, Chappell contended: “It’s healthy to have that lack of satisfaction, because that’s going to push this entire industry forward.”

The good news: “Those conversations are starting to happen ... Everybody is recognising that whatever data you have is the most valuable asset you have ... What it requires is getting the right people in the room in the right conversations.”

And as a reminder to “keep looking, keep asking questions, and keep going deep”, Chappell distributes flashlights to his team. The message is clear: they’re not scared and they will continue on their journey.

Even more importantly, he continued, is pursuing extra illumination, as “we need to understand. It’s not that we inherently don’t trust, but we need to know the depth of what’s behind the data”.

Sourced from WARC