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That’s a wrap: Key insights from EMS Client Summit

Erin Haselkorn

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the Experian Marketing Services Client Summit. Once again the couple days were full of insightful conversations with leading marketers, and content that pushes us to move forward and ‘level up’.

Marketers have a number of challenges on their plate, but one theme that continues to come up time and time again is data. I have been going to this conference for several years and the data theme was weaved in more sessions and conversations than I have ever seen in the past.

Data is going to continue being top of mind for marketers for some time. With that in mind, here are four key insights from my few days in Las Vegas:

1. Data is not going away any time soon

Every session I attended talked about data in some form or fashion. It isn’t just about looking at analytics from campaigns, it is about a deep rooted understanding of the customer that is shaping most decisions. Data-driven marketing teams and insight are here to stay. The most successful marketers at the conference are really doing a great job harnessing their data resources and leveraging them in as many ways as possible. Marketers using data is not a passing fad, it is the new reality.

2. Marketers are taking matters into their own hands and getting creative

In a panel session, I was struck by how many marketers talked about leveraging data as a key initiative. While some marketers are working in conjunction with IT and other departments, many are taking data manipulation and management into their own hands. There are team members dedicated to gaining data insight. While an increased interest and investment in data is positive, I think marketers do need to consider what other resources are available across the business.

We see from our research that many businesses take a very siloed approach to data management and data insight, which ultimately leads to incomplete information and wasted spend. While marketers should leverage their own teams, they should also look to the CIO or emerging Chief Data Officer for assistance.

3. The customer isn’t the problem, we are

I heard a lot at the conference about the evolving consumer who is operating through more channels than ever before. However, consumer cross-channel behavior changed several years ago. The problem is not that the consumer operates across multiple channels. The problem is that we still operate in siloed departments and that we consider the interaction of a consumer different depending on what channel they are coming through.

Marketers need to evolve and think about a consumer interaction as just that, a point of contact. It shouldn’t appear to the customer that there is any difference in the interaction. While we will still need to track investment and interaction to know how to optimize the communication, marketers need to shift their thinking. It is about the customer experience and message, not the channel itself.

4. Always ask the ‘Why’

I listened intently to Liz McLemore and Andy Werner’s session on trending topics for cross-channel campaigns. They made a very interesting point around the types of questions they commonly get from marketers. Some of them include ‘what is the best time to send an email campaign’ or ‘what about emojis in the subject line’. They made a great point, which is that those questions don’t matter.

What matters is the tone of your brand, the relationship you have with the consumer, and the message that you want to convey. The week after the conference, I saw a video on ‘Start with the why’. I thought this connected very well with what Liz and Andy were saying.

It isn’t about how we push the message out or what tactics we use. It is about why we are looking to engage with the consumer. We need to focus on building connections and doing what is best for the consumer.

For more ways on leveraging data, check-out one of our new white papers ‘Use customer data to exceed expectations.’

This year’s summit was a great success. Thank you to everyone who joined us in Las Vegas and I look forward to connecting with you again soon.