Data has assumed a critical place in the arsenal of Australia’s marketers. The insights it provides and the visibility great analysis delivers on matters such like campaign performance is driving greater investment in data science.

However, it is important to get the fundamentals right, according to leading analytics professionals at some of Australia’s best known brands.

Data analytics leaders from Tourism Australia, Coles and NAB outlined their own unique challenges and the lessons they learned at Adobe’s Symposium last year. With this year’s event coming up quickly, it is timely to revisit their advice.

Take the example of Tourism Australia. According to Manjit Gill, Global Manager Digital Analytics and Optimization, his organisation faced the peculiar analytics challenge of demonstrating results without primary data on conversions. How could a company measure success without revenue data?

“At its core, Tourism Australia is a partnership marketing organisation — we do not sell anything online. We create interest and hand over the potential travel to our partners for conversion,” Gill told delegates.

That meant when customers were redirected to partners, Tourism Australia could not fully measure the efficacy of its marketing campaigns.

“While we knew where the users were coming from to our web site, and what they did on the web site, once they clicked on a partner link and left, we lost them,” Gill said.

In order to capture this insight and attribution, Tourism Australia relied on data sharing with its partners, according to Gill. This meant the organisation could create and share different marketing segments across different domains with its partners.

Of course, those partners had to be be equally committed to achieving results. “We needed a tourism partner who had the right technology, the right skill set and the right attitude. We found that partner in Virgin Australia,” said Gill said.

By creating a partnership with Virgin through Adobe Audience Manager, Tourism Australia was able to share data and enrich user profiles. Eventually this lead to better attribution and an improved customer experience. Gill explained how this meant campaigns could be personalised to customers and the right message could be sent to the right person at the right time.

This partnership meant Tourism Australia could “close the loop” and track revenue generated by each campaign. “Now we not only know about clicks, but we also know the revenue generated,” which according to Gill has allowed for more accurate assessment about how well KPIs were being met.

“We now have a better understanding of our users and the path to purchase,” Gill said.

Common ground

Meanwhile at Coles, analytics helped the company’s personal financial products and its grocery business find common ground. The two groups were able to come together to create an enterprise-wide data and optimisation platform.

Coles’s financial services wing, for instance, used data to revamp its customers’ journeys. “The challenge for us was that we didn’t own our complete end-to-end customer experience,” said Robert Burden, Digital Analytics and Optimisation at Coles Financial Services.

“From our perspective, data is absolutely paramount to drive the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns,” he said.

A multitude of partners, data analytics implementations and data clouds meant it was difficult for Coles to obtain an end-to-end picture. And to obtain one would require a ‘”start from scratch” reordering approach, according to Burden.

Naomi Le Get, former Coles Analytics Principal, was facing her own problems in the broader Coles group, finding a platform that could handle the load and unique challenges that Coles’s online e-commerce platform presents.

“We realised that we needed Adobe Analytics to deal with the scale, the complexity and the richness of the data we were seeing, let alone to take it out to Coles as a whole,” Le Get said.

While Le Get had a clean slate to implement an analytics solution, Burden and Coles financial services had to ‘fix’ their data. However, it was worth the effort and Burden was able to “leverage the insights to drive the action”.

Both Coles entities found success, and the successful collaboration meant the two departments could glean insights from one another and drive optimisation.

What began as two individual projects have culminated in an organisation-wide platform.

Burden stressed that with the right platform an organisation can grow steadily. “You don’t need an army to get started … start small and scale. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Love your analytics

Building an analytic practice is a daunting proposition. It’s a digital environment that is constantly changing along with the technology, and requires a dynamic team with an aptitude for learning, according to NAB Digital Analytics Personalisation and Optimisation Specialist, Mathew Peters.

“You can get more value from the investment you have with whatever tools you are using today. You just have to take ownership and love your analytics,” Peters told the audience at the Adobe Symposium in Sydney.

Along with high-quality personnel, Peters says it is critical to use the right tools. “At NAB we’re using five of the Adobe Marketing Cloud solutions. That’s great, but you need to integrate with your own systems and tools and your data.”

Getting accurate automated data at the granular level you need is how you get a practice underway, Peters said.

Once the tools and the people are in place, they must be enabled — a common pitfall for new analytic practices, according to Peters. “One of the things that a lot of teams fall down on is making sure people have the right tools and they are enabled to do their job.”

It’s also important to teach your people, according to Peters, who attributes much of his success at NAB to in-house training; “We train the people who use our tools. Because nobody knows our business like we do.”

The training saw a spike in usage and advocacy for the analytics tools. Involving users of all levels and providing support and training removed some of the trepidation surrounding data analytics, Peters said.

Once the data is more properly understood and implemented, tangible results are possible. “All of the analytics are wonderful, but it’s the insights that create value. And you do that through taking action. You only get value by taking action and doing good things,” Peters said.

Common themes

While the companies are all solving very different problems, there is a unifying theme to their stories, according to Adobe Senior Solutions Consultant Tom Braybrook. They demonstrate how analytics is about more than advertising. “We’ve started focussing on how this moves beyond just the advertising and paid media. It’s now starting to power on-site optimisation as well.”

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