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Laziness, underinvestment in people holding back Southeast Asia marketers on big data finds IAB report

Ervin Ha

Ervin Ha on data: ‘You can have a Tesla but if you don’t have a license you can’t drive it’

A white paper on data-driven marketing by the industry body for internet advertising in Singapore, the IAB, suggests that laziness in properly classifying data is among the reasons why marketers in Southeast Asia are struggling to make effective use of it.

Data is pushing brands to respond faster, but many client organisations still lack the foundations needed to measure in a sophisticated and meaningful way, the white paper titled Breaking down the silos: Unleashing the power of data also found.

Some lack a clear vision and roadmap for data, and many have failed to find meaningful metrics beyond social media likes and interactions that show real business value.

Steve Pardue, VP for APAC and Japan at Tealium, who sits on IAB’s measurement and standards committee, said: “The problem is sometimes rooted in laziness of developing a taxonomy and foundation for understanding the data. If you don’t do your homework and lay that foundation, then you have no chance of finding answers”.

Damien Crittenden, direct of analytics and insights at Xaxis, added: “It’s common for marketers, working in newer disciplines such as social media to talk in vague terms about metrics like likes, interactions and engagements. If you ask a CRM person to talk about the same thing, they’ll talk about it in an entirely different way with a much stronger strategic foundation.”

The report highlighted that while a lot of companies had invested in new technology to capture data, they had underinvested in the people needed to work out how to use it.

The technology and vendor landscape that enables the collection, storage, analysis and visualisation of data has evolved significantly outpacing the rate at which we have evolved how we think about people, skills and hiring, the study reads.

Ervin Ha from YouGov commented: “You can have a Tesla but if you don’t have a license you can’t drive it”.

There is also a structural issue in how data is kept in silos, with analytics and research treated differently, and so access to different data sets is often restricted for marketers.

Another central issue, the study finds, is that marketers are not asking the right questions, and so are not getting useful marketing insights.

Tim Kelsall, chief client officer at Kantar Singapore, said: “The real issue is people understanding the fundamental business questions they’re trying to solve. It’s often the case that you’ve got the technology and data but it’s not intelligently applied back to solve the actual business issue”.

The report is born of IAB Singapore’s Measurement & Standards Committee, which was introduced in 2014.

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