Why “the D word” was yesterday’s buzzword

Sky IQ is blogging for LIVE@AdvertisingWeek and picking out a buzzword for each day of Advertising Week Europe.

Wednesday’s word – don’t say it too loudly – was “the D word”. Data.

 Hannah McMullen, head of marketing at Sky IQ, writes: “Data, statistics, insight. Say but one of these words to someone in our industry and they’ll either recoil, groan or both.

However, data definitely made its mark at Wednesday’s Ad Week.

Everyone is talking about data today from music companies and high-street retailers through to media owners, agencies and – of course – marketers. And for good reason.

The benefits were hammered home during Wednesday’s sessions at AdWeek, with Kathleen Hall, general manager of global advertising at Microsoft using her presentation to explain that insights always win.

Yet, as David Rothschild, Microsoft’s Research Economist explained during his talk, while predictive science is being used to some extent in advertising, we’ve “stopped at phase one”.

I wouldn’t go as far to say that data is the magic bullet for marketers and advertisers.

As CMO at the RSA, Peter Markey said on a panel later in the day “marketing can be stifled while you’re waiting for the sausage machine to give you the answer”. Analysing and using data properly takes time and cannot offer the same turnaround as a timely creative can (Oreo’s tweet during last year’s Super Bowl power cut would be case in point).

Predictive science is in its infancy, but will only become an increasingly valuable planning tool.

The takeaway from today is that as an industry, we get it.

Our recent survey, AdScience, showed that four-fifths of the survey respondents (85%) agree that data is becoming more important in their world, with only 1 in 10 believing data to be more of a hindrance than a help to them. However, there is still a long way to go when it comes to using that data well.

While nearly half (46%) ofrespondents commented that their agency could be using data more effectively, less than a quarter said their agency was investing more in data – suggesting that while the acceptance is there, we’re still in the middle (if not at the start) of a long, but rewarding learning curve.”