Business Leadership Data Deep Dive Data & Privacy

Top marketers share one data insight that changed their philosophy


By Ellen Ormesher, Senior Reporter

May 11, 2023 | 8 min read

As part of The Drum’s latest Deep Dive, The New Data & Privacy Playbook, we asked marketing leaders about a time a single data insight made a world of difference and the lessons they learned from the experience.


Inspiration can come from unlikely sources, say marketing leaders / Unsplash

James Calvert, chief data strategy officer at M&C Saatchi London: “For every ‘sustainability’ search, there are 26 for ‘upcycling’. For Ikea, we turned data on what people search for into memorable numbers that inspire and inform action. It made a world of difference by making it easy to understand the language of changing consumer preferences and to size the possible opportunity.

“The team at Ikea went on to build out Live Lagom, with 4500 ‘Lagomers’ in an active Facebook group. This delivered significant shifts in perceptions of the affordability of suitable living. 90% of the group saved money on their energy bills and it even inspired a new range of ‘Lagom’ products.”

Chris Camacho, CEO, Cheil UK: “As practitioners, we are always looking at how to improve performance stats such as site conversion rate and so focus deeply on that 0-3% that are already in the market to glean incremental growth. What changed things for me was learning Binet and Field’s “Long and Short of It” theory. Whilst focusing on the bottom of the funnel may make sense in the short-term, it is important to remember that marketers don’t move buyers in-market – buyers move themselves in based on their needs. Therefore, through a broader approach that focuses on 97% of their behaviors and pressure points, marketers can increase the probability that their brand will be top of mind when these consumers are ready to purchase. Even persuading a fraction of that pool will far exceed performance results in the long term.”

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Callum McCahon, executive strategy director and partner at Born Social: “There’s one piece of data that has been pivotal in our approach to building brands on social media: the organic reach rate.

“According to SocialInsider, organic reach on Instagram currently sits at just 9.34%. Couple this with the fact that in order to grow a brand, you need to be reaching far beyond your current customer base, reaching non-buyers and converting them over, and you'll find the key flaw with most social strategies: the vast majority of the people you actually need to reach in order to grow won’t be following you on social media. Even if they are, there’s only a very small chance that they’ll be seeing your content. By purely putting organic content in front of people who already know and love the brand, you’re not building your brand - you’re preaching to the converted.

“This data point has been transformational in how we help our clients to build their brands using social media: it’s about bringing paid media and creative together, harnessing creators as gatekeepers into new communities, and optimizing organic for earned potential. That’s how you build a modern brand on social media.”

Lucy Jones, senior account manager at Design Bridge and Partners: “The unprecedented circumstances surrounding this year’s Eurovision Song Contest encouraged us to re-examine the true power of music in bringing people together. This is a theme that has been central to the contest since its inception but has never been more important than this year when Liverpool is playing host city on behalf of war-torn Ukraine. Our exploration led us to discover that experiencing live music together physically synchronizes heartbeats.

“This insight inspired and informed our whole creative concept for the contest - a concept that elevates the core theme of United by Music and reflects the huge global audience of Eurovision. Our creative concept reflects the 160m strong Eurovision audience members’ hearts beating as one. The visual expression of the 160m hearts is present in the Eurovision 2023 sound wave of many hearts, connected and beating together.”

Oliver Betts, head of growth, data practice at EssenceMediacom: “A single data-driven insight doesn’t always come from one data point or type. A variety of data signals combined from different sources such as consumer panels, websites, CRM, and social listening are sometimes needed to form a stronger view of the brand challenge.

“This enables marketers to reveal a nugget of insight that can help inspire multiple communication activities – from designing big creative concepts to selecting key media regions – and then executing content dynamically across multiple channels and audiences. In my experience, the most rewarding and effective marketing communication strategies are rooted in insight discovered using multiple data sources, where the media applications are made across the whole consumer journey for superior brand experiences.”

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Matt Rhodes, chief strategy officer at House 337: “I found my most important data insight on a bus. On a bus doing qual research. We were trying to optimize the journeys for a client – seeing how advertising led to research and conversion on their website. We were worried about lots of sensible numbers – click-through rates, session times, and unique users – the usual.

“But watching those people doing research and using our client’s site, it became clear that all of these metrics were useless. Because they never got to our client’s website because it took too long to load. They just expected things much quicker than we realized. So site speed became the key metric we tracked, the key metric we designed for and the key thing that transformed performance for the brand.

“You can have all the data in the world, but actually watching people use your client’s product in the real world is what tells you not what you can measure, but what matters to measure.”

To read more from The Drum’s latest Deep Dive, where we’ll be demystifying data & privacy for marketers in 2023, head over to our special hub.

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