Ahead of his keynote presentation at the upcoming Data Strategy Symposium, Lucan Creamer, Executive Manager of Commercial and Marketing at Events Melbourne – City of Melbourne, explains the monumental impact data-driven marketing has had on how he does business.
Data-driven marketing processes are the biggest change our business has seen in recent years.
For Events Melbourne, that encompasses how we use data from a strategic perspective to understanding our customers and connecting with them across the entire customer journey.
Two or three years ago, these processes definitely didn’t exist for us. During the past couple of years, we’ve put it them place. It’s the biggest change from a marketing perspective specifically, but you could also say from an overall strategic perspective for the City of Melbourne events division.
Implementing change like this is not easy. It requires education, which is certainly something we have seen within our team and more broadly across the organisation.
I understand why some companies and businesses are struggling to implement similar processes. There’s definitely some risk aversion to doing this, a lack of understanding of what it means and how it can be utilised.
I’m of the opinion you can’t call yourself a marketer these days without being able to understand data. Sure, it’s challenging to know what data to focus on because it can be overwhelming. But any marketer who is not looking at it is definitely missing a trick.
Creativity meets data
You may not expect an event such as Melbourne Fashion Week to be driven by data. Creativity is still at the heart of the event – it is all about fashion after all – but from an event and logistics perspective, understanding the customers who are going to engage with us, attend our events and therefore, purchase the fashion is really important. Data is key to understanding who they are and how they behave.
This year was the first year we have used data to power the event on this scale. We called on IBM’s Marketing Cloud to use the insights we developed and tailor the delivery of our content. We used Marketing Cloud, for example, with Facebook insights, to develop lookalike audiences of the people we had already profiled through our analytics. This increased our reach quite dramatically but in a very tailored way.
The results speak for themselves. From a general social media “buzz” perspective, the engagement level increased significantly. Conversion rates through marketing efforts such as Facebook ads were incredibly high.
An ongoing challenge
This approach to Melbourne Fashion Week has been highly successful, but there are still challenges for us to tackle. Pulling all of our data sets together is an ongoing mission. The first step is to find them. Once you have the information, bringing the assets together into one system is time-consuming. Our experience, though, shows it’s worthwhile.
The next challenge is taking our data to the next level. For us, that’s being able to push out notifications through social media and mobile at events in a very tailored way. Say, for example, someone is talking about a certain fashion trend, we’ll be able to send a notification pointing them in-store to a nearby retailer with a relevant offer. Essentially we want to connect the customer path from the runway to retail. The only way to do that is by using data.
Enlist an expert
For businesses thinking about embracing data, I say don’t simply think about it. Do it. A lot of marketers have the view their organisation is too small to make the most of what marketing technology providers can offer. That is the clincher for a lot of people. You’ll be surprised to find their offerings are quite scalable, nimble and agile.
If you’re not sure where to start, talk to the experts. Companies like IBM can help you to gather a whole bunch of data sets, pull them together then make sense of them. As a marketer, you could try and do that yourself but you’re going to be wasting a lot of time attempting to do something tech providers can do rather quickly. Then you can spend your time focusing on how you actually interpret and make sense of your data from a pure marketing perspective.
Catch Lucan’s presentation, The Melbourne Spring Fashion Week Story: Runways Made With Data, on day three of the Data Strategy Symposium.
Lucan is the executive Manager at Events Melbourne, City of Melbourne. He began his career in advertising at George Patts Melbourne; he then moved to work on his passion, major events, through the Commonwealth Games, The Rugby World Cup, The Asian Games and Wimbledon. After a stint at agencies in London, Lucan returned home to work with his other passion, Melbourne. Lucan believes in the power of events to showcase the City’s attributes, connect communities with industry and to act as a catalyst for innovation.