How to make sense of big data
“If you are a marketer these days, there are opportunities to reach people pretty much anywhere along their purchasing journey, no matter how complex,” says Lawrence Janes, managing director of marketing data and analytics company CollidaScope. “Whether consumers are at home, work, out and about, in store, on or off line, you’re not short of options.”
However, the real challenge is “using these opportunities to get the right message for the right product to the right people at the right time and place in the most effective way”, he claimed.
Sifting through the noise surrounding the digital marketing space is a big challenge for companies, Janes pointed out. The “jargon and insight connected with the worlds of ‘big data’ and media”, he said, especially when it’s termed as ‘digital’ can often be at best confusing, and at worst irrelevant to what companies wanted to achieve” when it comes to commercial and marketing objectives.
Yet despite this, it is incumbent on firms in the OTC space to understand the digital arena, Janes insisted, given that this is where consumers are increasingly starting, if not always ending their shopping journeys.
“Arguably the combination of time, place and circumstance play an even more vital role in the OTC shopper’s purchasing journey than in many other sectors;” Janes claimed, “and sometimes it seems from a marketer’s perspective, the window of opportunity to make a sale is very narrow indeed.”
Shopper and consumer’s motivations to buy OTC products vary “hugely” both at a category level and within different product groups, he explained.
“Sometimes it’s a ‘distress’ purchase, sometimes seasonal, sometimes it’s a ‘bathroom cabinet-loading’ mission for future use”, Janes continued. “The situation is further complicated with the different roles multiple retail channels have to play, along with the relationship between branded and private-label products within a category.”
Trying to gauge the shopper or consumer’s “emotive point of view”, is equally challenging, Janes said. It is crucial to know if they are “concerned, confused, mistrusting or trusting of what and where they’re buying an OTC product”, he insisted, and also how reliant they were on someone else’s advocacy of a brand or product, whether that be a healthcare professional or someone else.
“All of this is then overlaid with a myriad of media channels and communication options to try and reach the shoppers and consumers who might be in the market for your products,” Janes pointed out.
The aim of CollidaScope – which is part of the Ceuta Group – Janes said, is to cut through the noise and help clients “overcome all this confusion”, and focus on what really counts – the incremental sales, changes to shopping behaviour and ROI generated by activities that can satisfy shorter term commercial and longer term brand-building objectives.
“The trick is being able to make something intelligible, insightful and actionable from all the data available,” he explained, “and our approach is to draw as direct a line of sight as possible between where and when people shop, their purchasing behaviours in store and on line, with the influences on these behaviours and their degrees of exposure to marketing communication.”
“Establishing these levels of exposure to marketing activity and its relative impact on sales and shopping behaviour is critical in this process,” Janes said.
CollidaScope has developed a bespoke software system, called CollidaTrak that helps the company and its clients to establish these levels, Janes pointed out. “It ingests and ‘collides’ sales, media exposure, research and incidence datasets,” he explained, “‘scoring’ shopper and consumer exposure to activity by its geography, laydown and weight; along with their propensity to consume different media types.”
“Having also matched the different ways people shop, for example category repertoire and brand spend, price sensitives and the influence of any incidences, life stage and lifestyles,” he continued, “we can be sure that changes to sales and shopping behaviours between those who are exposed to a client’s marketing activity and those who are not, has been caused by the marketing activity itself.”
Isolate effects of marketing
“The system can isolate the singular and combined sales effects of activities on both an historic and continuous basis,” Janes claimed, “as well as predict the effects of future activities.”
Furbished with these insights, companies can then begin to “define marketing strategies and marketing communication mixes by their impact on sales and behaviours”, Janes said. The results of this kind of approach then informs what kind of messages work best in which combination of media channels in particular store formats, times, places and circumstances whether health-related or otherwise, he added.
This process had already been proven, Janes stated, pointing out that CollidaScope has already had success with clients in the OTC space.
“In the anti-inflammatories space, CollidaScope worked with a brand that was losing market share,” Janes said.
Analyse incremental sales
“We analysed the incremental sales performance of their television and digital advertising, in-store display units and multiple SKU approach both singly and in combination,” he explained, “and the upshot was their television and digital advertising only drove incremental sales where in store display units were present.”
“However, the most important factor in driving short term sales and longer term positive shopping behaviours was the SKUs being promoted,” he revealed. “A focus on smaller pack sizes was better at driving sales throughout the range than anything else and as a result a new strategy was devised, focusing advertising spend when and where point-of-sale material is present, and leading marketing implementation with small pack sizes across the range.”
“This approach,” Janes claimed, “has resulted in 11% improvement in the incremental sales generated by the brand’s marketing activity and gains in market share.”
“It’s early days in shifting the basis of targeting, planning & evaluating marketing activities from a traditional one of audience engagement to one of using big data to generate real value-add,” Janes admitted, “but the signs seem very promising.”
Article originally published in OTC Bulletin.