• Data, data everywhere and not an insight in sight. How many of you can identify with this? Finding the signal in the noise remains a challenge, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In fact, framing marketing as data-driven may not be entirely accurate as often, our emotions and thought processes guide us to seek specific datasets.

    This was a major takeaway from RampUp on the Road Atlanta. Our content was chock-full of advice and real-world examples of how to find and use data, both qualitative and quantitative, to reach audiences and build authentic relationships.

    Insight 1: Feel what they feel

    Practice empathy to understand and connect with customers. While we may understand empathy personally, doing so as professionals may not be a natural impulse.

    Jim Nail, principal analyst at Forrester, shared a great example of how a food company learned to walk in the shoes of its target audience. The brand was trying to reach a lower income audience so their marketing and product team members were given $100 each and instructed to use the money to feed a family of four for a week. That exercise gave them a taste of this economic bracket’s wants and needs and the challenging food choices they make every day.

    Regardless of industry, we can all learn more about our target audiences by understanding what relationships are important to them, how they make decisions, and what motivates them.

    Insight 2: 90% of the world’s data was generated in the last two years

    Tracy YoungLincoln, EVP of Moxie, MRY, and Zenith, shared this stat during her team’s presentation, Building Data Narratives. Pretty mind-blowing, isn’t it? If this is true, then all this data is stored somewhere—what are we doing with it? All companies know they need to be data-driven, but how do you find the needle in a haystack that matters to you?

    While the task may seem daunting, the key is presenting the use of data in a narrative manner that advertisers can easily grasp. Liam Copeland, Head of Intelligence at MRY, and Scott Hunter, Director, Cognitive Platforms, Moxie, pictured above, took us through a few examples of storytelling with data. 

    Liam shared a client example from Five Guys. As a smaller player going up against giants in the fast food space, it needed to use data to target differently and catch people at the right moment. Using behavioral science, MRY mapped out new segments for Five Guys tied to different emotions and need states. For example, if you just went to the gym, you may feel like you’ve earned that burger. Or if you’re from an area without Five Guys, you may really want it when you visit a town that does. These audiences make sense intuitively, and can all be mapped to data sets.

    Using scores of these data-driven emotional cues to drive Five Guys’ creative and media placements, the team at MRY was able to lower the brand’s CPM by $1.55 and store visitation by $0.98.

    Insight 3: “Tell a story about what you’re trying to do.” – Julianne Jennings, Intercontinental Hotels Group

    Continuing with the storytelling theme, Julianne Jennings, senior manager of marketing products at IHG, advised attendees to be patient when explaining new initiatives, especially cross-team projects.

    “Not everyone is going to understand what you’re trying to do, and you may think you’re repeating yourself,” she continued. If you craft a good story, though, you’ll eventually hear it repeated back to you—that’s when you know you’ve succeeded.

    Bonus insight: It’s not Hotlanta

    In the same way that Bay Area residents cringe when they hear San Fran, so do Atlantans when the uninitiated say Hotlanta. ATL is acceptable. Consider yourself in the know now!

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