High Hopes for Data to Create Closer Customer Relationships

Vice President

Data and technology are transforming relationships between brands and their customers as never before. Exploring the strategic implications of this shift was the topic of the recent ANA Masters of Data and Analytics conference in early March.  Here are some notable points taken from the wide-ranging topics presented by senior leaders from top brands across industries:

Ultimate dream is one-to-one communications between brand and customer.

The future goal for marketers is to create personalized content.  Brands are investing heavily in digital transformation and technology to achieve this. One of the goals of this investment is to enable data-driven storytelling, as data alone cannot build a customer relationship. Some of the challenges in implementing this type of marketing technology include lack of staff training, privacy concerns (GDRP and CCPA), and lack of customer trust in social media’s ability to protect data.

Customers are wary of sharing information.

Companies may provide attractive benefits in return for customers sharing their information. But customers don’t trust that companies will keep that information private. To build trust with customers, brands may need to enhance and refine their loyalty programs and consent-based marketing (opt-in choices, etc.)

Brands are building marketing technology teams in-house.

The idea is to build a large data science team along with experts in machine learning to create more personalized content. For example, AirBNB University teaches employees about data decision-making, and McDonald’s recently purchased an artificial intelligence (AI) company. Facebook’s presentation at the conference focused on their heavy investment in AI for voice-assistants, language translation, image and video identification, among others. Other brand marketers are using AI for bots and assistants, auto-generating preview gifs of video, and augmented reality which allows customers to try on such items as eyeglasses and apparel.

Ability to purchase vs. ability to spend for individuals.

Equifax suggested to marketers that it is worth taking a deeper look at individual consumers through a combination of Big Data and behavioral data. The company noted that data on groups of individuals make them look the same in terms of ability to purchase (as reflected in their credit score.) But that doesn’t project an individual’s ability to spend, which is influenced by cash they have on hand each month.

Please don’t take my cookies away.


Google’s decision to remove third-party cookies from their search engine within two years will prevent marketers from tracking consumers on the web. Its decision is based on keeping up with people’s higher demands for privacy. As mentioned earlier, this increases the need for marketers to enhance their consent-based marketing.

Have questions about the conference? Contact Mike.