• [Editor’s note: Marc Ginsberg is Vice President & General Manager of Amex Advance at American Express, and was a speaker at RampUp 2017. We invited him to share his thoughts on data and marketing trends.]

    As marketers in today’s high output world, we face the similarly overwhelming challenges of a sick person standing in the middle of a drug store aisle filled with different cold medicines. Pills vs. capsules, cold vs. cough, sick during the night or day?

    In the same way there isn’t one pill to cure our colds, there isn’t a singular data silver bullet to fix our audience targeting problems and help us achieve revenue goals. Marketers must make increasingly big bets on the pillars of data that provide unique insights and improved relevance for their customers.

    So what type of data can help us anticipate a consumer’s shopping needs even before they realize it?

    Separating Knowledge from Data

    Once a customer is searching for a particular product, in most instances, the brand is competing primarily on price as the customer is already too far down the funnel. You’ve lost the chance to shape their thinking—an area we’ve started calling “pre-intent to purchase.”

    At American Express we use the latest machine-learning techniques to analyze our closed-loop, which is end-to-end commerce data, to find strong signals of card members’ pre-intent to purchase.

    As an example, we recently analyzed the spending behaviors of card members right before they switch their cell phone carrier. We saw that when they began to reduce the tips they leave at restaurants (by roughly >10%), their likelihood to switch cell phone carriers over the next few months increased dramatically.  

    Cloud computing, open-source and big data analytics are new concepts in the industry, but they provide exciting opportunities to serve customers better. It is incumbent on marketers to find strong signals of future purchase intent by doing more analytical experiments on the data that’s out there.

    Understand your customer and treat them right

    As consumers demand more and more personalization, the ability to surprise and delight at the one-to-one level will drive massive economic value. If done the right way, it will be welcomed by consumers, too.

    Ultimately, each individual brand will have to determine which data insights or analytical approaches will prove most effective for them. A great way to ensure that less data is truly more is to understand who your customer is, where they are, what they buy (in and out of the store), and how they think.

    Marc Ginsberg spoke on the RampUp 2017 panel for Relevancy: Consumers Demand It.

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