AAMI, GIO: 'Too much hype' around big data

By Paul McIntyre | 22 May 2013
Mark Reinke.

Suncorp’s top marketer, Mark Reinke, will declare there is too much hype around big data and analytics at tomorrow's annual Connect conference staged by the Australian Association of National Advertisers in Sydney.

Reinke, who has brands such as AAMI, GIO, Shannons and Vero under his watch, is big on the implications that data is having and will have throughout organisations – not just marketing – but he says forget the obsession with the technology. And even data analytics teams.

“I’ll be making three points,” Reinke, told AdNews, which is the AANA’s official media partner. “I’m not actually going to argue that data reigns supreme because there is so much hype. The hype is in the fact that it will solve all of your problems and if you get more data, it equals more success.

“That is not true. The key thing for me is data is not the same thing as information and information is not the same as insight. You have to mine a lot of data to get some information, you have to mine a lot of information to get some insight of which you can actually do something with.

“The hype is overly focused on the sheer volume and not well focused on the business acumen to ask the right questions to know what problem you are solving.”

Reinke has no doubt data will fundamentally change marketing practice and broader business culture but to get there requires more than bolt-on capabilities.

“You can rent it, you can build it, you can buy it, but the mindset needs to be pervasive because data-driven marketing, evidence-based marketing, is really key to two things that all marketing teams are now faced with.

“Number one is reducing the cost of growth and the second is building experiences people are prepared to pay for. You’re going to need more evidence to do that, to deliver return on investment, to secure funding and invest in the right areas.”

Reinke says critical to the data trend is that it’s changing the way organisations adapt, but it goes beyond marketing. “We need to talk a lot about adaptability. I want to be really clear that data is not a means to an end and therefore is not the panacea or a miracle cure.

“I want to talk about focusing on solving customer problems. It’s very easy to focus on solving your own problems and forget that the path to profit and success and brand strength is solving customer problems. If you get this right, profitability will follow.

“The greatest challenge in the space is not technology. It is not data, it’s not even the analytical techniques to interrogate it. The real challenge is, how do you create an organisation that knows what questions to ask? That is hard.

“There is a dimension to culture to this and mindset in strategy that is not as simple as just putting some data scientists in a room with a big data warehouse. There is a high degree of business acumen and intuition still required and I really want to finish on that to some degree.

“Data is redefining marketing in business models and that marketers have what I call an opportunity if not an obligation to be at the pointy end of that in guiding the organisations to adapt because the very survival of those organisations might depend on.”

Click here for full details of the AANA's Connect conference this Thursday.

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