Thinking data talking human


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‘Thinking Data, Talking Human’ provides marketers with a series of eight rules for the pursuit of effective customer engagement in today’s fragmented and congested landscape. The rules are formulated from analysis of the latest thinking in the fast-changing field of Behavioural economics and its relevant application to marketing, combined with real-life examples of data-driven creative that have resulted in significant behaviour-change.

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Thinking data talking human

  1. 1. Lateral Group, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permissions of Lateral Group 1 Thinking Data, Talking Human Marc Michaels, Business Director, Public Sector/Not-for Profit Mike Cavers, Executive Creative Director LATERAL GROUP WHITE PAPERS Executive Summary ‘Thinking Data, Talking Human’ provides marketers with a series of eight rules for the pursuit of effective customer engagement in today’s fragmented and congested landscape. The rules are formulated from analysis of the latest thinking in the fast-changing field of Behavioural Economics and its relevant application to marketing, combined with real-life examples of data-driven creative that have resulted in significant behaviour-change. In austere times, in a risk-averse business world, there is a tendency to approve only marketing investment if it is building on or optimising a known quantity. However, creatives plead for the freedom to express and develop ideas which generate the fame and ‘talkability’ that can have a major impact on outcomes for a brand. Data does not have to be a barrier, but can be the source of insight that inspires a creative spark. The rise of big data has signalled a seismic shift in how brands interact every day with consumers. People are volunteering more of their information than ever, providing marketers with a broader view of their personal preferences, interests and behaviours. And, by combining it with the psychology of human behaviour that we learn from observation, market research or through practical application of Behavioural Economics, we can gain additional powerful insight: understanding what really makes our customers tick. It is then the task of the creative to fuse these insights from data and psychology to create human content that tells a story that connects to people, and provides a clear route to meaningful customer engagement. It is a case of having your cake and eating it. Great creativity will result from a fusion of data and insight, delivered in the right channels, producing marketing content that is well targeted but also connects emotionally. A case of thinking data and talking human.
  2. 2. Lateral Group, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permissions of Lateral Group 2 The Panacea for marketers has long been finding a way to appeal directly to consumers, with timely, motivating and relevant content which is not only a true reflection of the brand, but also memorable, enabling the creative to stand out from the competition and resonate with the consumer on an emotional and rational level. The route to getting to this point, however, is often confused and much debated. With the proliferation of consumer data that has sprung up and evolved in recent years, many brands are struggling to get to grips with how to harness all the information they have at their fingertips and make it work for their communications campaigns. This has sparked a growth in academic studies looking at the psychology of individuals and how we as marketers need to study, consider, and understand human behaviour before deciding how to attract people’s attention to convert them into customers, and ultimately establish loyalty. THINKING DATA, TALKING HUMAN Introduction Blending data and emotion What we will be presenting in this paper is the view that data insight, combined with emotional and behavioural analysis, can actually enhance and inspire the creative process. What’s more, the creative element does not necessarily have to be the output generated – the word and pictures - creativity can manifest itself as the trigger or idea that puts the wheels in motion and helps marketers achieve the results they desire. Our view is that we need to ‘think data and talk human’; that is, look at the numbers and figures, but put them in a context that relates directly to human experience and our natural reactions, in order to create scenarios in which brands can tap straight in to people’s needs and desires. This paper will look at current thinking around Behavioural Economics, how psychology and data have previously been used (in silos) in marketing practices and then move on to explore the effectiveness and huge potential in using them together to achieve great results. It will also look to unravel the confusion around the types of data insight available to brands. Transactional data, for example, can play a very specific role in outlining what people do and when, whereas data gleaned from research, qualitative studies and indeed behavioural testing, offers the reasons and triggers behind why people behave as they do. We will seek to prove that looking at the ‘what’ of human behaviour and the ‘why’ independently is not enough – it’s looking at the two alongside one another, and applying this knowledge creatively and quickly is the key to forging long lasting and impactful relationships between brands and people. Moreover, we argue that the key to making this theory work for marketers and for brands is to turn it quickly and intelligently into action: to take data, psychology and research and action them directly, case by case, in order to develop a series of actions which take this information on board and convert them into effective results. Ultimately, this paper will outline the best practice for marketers, including eight rules that we feel play a pivotal role in the way marketers create truly effective and creative campaigns. By taking an integrated approach that adopts a broader view, acting decisively and embracing the learnings that come from all forms of insight, and even from failure, we can create memorable and intelligent ways of engaging with people. Behavioural Economics and understanding the psychology of what makes people tick is hugely important for any brand wanting to understand how best to get people to buy their products and services. The key word in this sentence is ‘people’ – so often, marketers can forget that the ‘targets’ of their ‘strategies’ are human beings with feelings and irrational responses, at odds with the controlled rigidity that these military-like terms imply. The ‘targets’ are people, and the ‘strategies’ are, or should be, conversations and reactions based on a real understanding of the barriers, motivators and triggers that affect us as we go through life. One trend which has bubbled up over the years is the faulty notion that insight that is derived from data – that is numbers, figures and detailed analysis – can get in the way of this more emotional connection. The argument is that data can somehow restrict or inhibit the creative process that emotional and behavioural analysis offers, and in fact can take away from the personal insight that can be gained by looking at people’s habits and behaviours. It is assumed that data, because it is made up of facts and figures, goes against the notion of understanding people. The truth is actually the opposite: it is data that can help us to humanise the marketing process and break it down into an understanding of how people really work. So often, marketers can forget that the “targets” of their “strategies” are human beings’ ‘
  3. 3. Lateral Group, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permissions of Lateral Group 3 Using people’s behaviour and habits as a marker for planning business (and in particular, marketing) activity is by no means a new phenomenon. In fact, as McKinsey puts it, ‘long before Behavioural Economics had a name, marketers were using it.’ The concept gave birth to marketing stalwarts such as the ‘buy one get one free’ offer, which was used again and again simply because it worked, tapping into an innate human need to recognise they were getting a bargain. However, despite the practice being around for years, the trend of speaking about behavioural techniques in direct correlation to marketing activity has accelerated in the last five years, thanks mainly to the advocacy of industry heavyweight Rory Sutherland. Sutherland’s take on Behavioural Economics is wide reaching; he has spent many years observing people and their motivations to buy, interact with, and leave brands behind. His broad definition of his vision for agencies is “to use ideas to convert human understanding into business advantages for our clients.” This reasoning is sound and has given birth, quite rightly, to years’ worth of studies, experiments and practices that look at human behaviour before forging ahead with marketing activity. Books such as ‘Influence’, ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’, ‘Nudge’, ‘Herd’, ‘Loss Aversion’, ‘Prospect Theory’ and ‘The Tipping Point’ all look at understanding people’s irrationality; developing theories and solutions such as Choice Architecture, looking at uncovering and manipulating the choices people make through defaults, THINKING DATA, TALKING HUMAN Historical thinking and application of Behavioural Economics ‘Chunking’, which deals with breaking information up in order to comply with people’s need to absorb things in small and gradual stages and Social Norms, where we are influenced by what significant others around us say or do. The role of data in this debate and the role it has to play in Behavioural Economics has not been ignored; in fact many have spoken about the need to look at data in order to build successful campaigns. Indeed, there has already been talk from many about the need to combine data and psychology in order to truly understand how behaviour impacts on brand success. As Chris Arnold surmises, “To have data without psychology is like watching a black & white silent movie, it’s ok if you haven’t watched in colour with great sound but once you’ve discovered the bigger picture there’s no turning back.” However, we would argue that so far, theory has played a far bigger part than practice in this area. There may well be an acknowledgement that data and psychology can be successfully fused, but we propose that the next step forward is to recognise the creativity that can come from this, and the need to act fast to harness this and convert it into tangible business results. There has been little evidence so far of marketers actually putting all these theories and ‘solutions’ into practice, and using all the information they have to actually build suitable communications and conversations with their audiences. Let’s begin by looking at every step of the process in detail: what actually do we mean by data insight and what are the different types that can actually assist us in making a difference in terms of how we talk to people? What role can psychology actually play in what we do, as marketers, to connect with people? And finally, how can we combine all these factors and actually make a difference in terms of reaching people in an effective and, let’s face it, profitable manner? Transactional data Transactional data is the information that teaches us about what people do: how often they buy from or interact with a brand, what choices they make, when they buy and when they don’t. This gives us insight about habits, patterns and trends, but in a purely factual sense. From this data, we can only tell the when, the how and the if, not the why or the why not. Alone, this data is useful, as it gives us the bare bones surrounding the decisions that people make. Yes, this can help us to look at trends, differences in the market and emerging patterns, but in terms of developing strategies for reaching consumers, this simply isn’t enough. We need to know the why; the drivers, reasons and triggers behind these trends and gain clues as to how we can predict and react to these trends in the future. One way of obtaining this information is yet again through data, but in the form of research, providing the qualitative kind of insight that allows us to delve into the trigger points behind the decisions people make. However, often people are telling us what they think we want to hear and not what they actually would do in that situation. This occurs because research generally develops an artificial construct that taps into the more rational ‘Systems 2’1 mindset. Where transactional data gives instant, black and white information about what people do, To have data without psychology is like watching a black & white silent movie, it’s ok if you haven’t watched in colour with great sound but once you’ve discovered the bigger picture there’s no turning back’ ‘ 1 See the ‘Pyschology’ section for more details.
  4. 4. Lateral Group, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permissions of Lateral Group 4 THINKING DATA, TALKING HUMAN Historical thinking and application of Behavioural Economics research can provide the grey areas between these facts: What was it that made someone reach for the internet or the phone at midnight, or the reason why certain people only buy certain products on a Wednesday, in May, or after five o’clock. Pyschology The trap that so many businesses and marketers can fall into is assuming that people use their ‘Systems 2’2 rational brains and act as the economists say we should act. The truth is actually that we are far more likely to operate as un-economic man engaging our ‘Systems 1’ brain: we are intuitive, emotional, and make judgements and decisions far quicker than even we are willing to admit . Impulsivity is by far a more common human trait than calculation. Of course, not everyone is the same, but academic studies in cognitive psychology tell us that people take the ‘Systems 1’, automatic, route 90 percent of the time and then we often engage our ‘Systems 2’, considered, brain to post-rationalise our instinctive decision. Or if we do engage Systems 2, where we start to calculate options and opportunities, we may end up with decision paralysis because there is just too much information. We like short cuts, they help us cope with the world and form an integral part of the thought processes that dictate the decisions made to such an extent that it has an entire science called heuristics devoted to it. A heuristic is a mental shortcut that allows people to solve problems and make judgments quickly and efficiently. These rule-of-thumb strategies shorten decision-making time and allow people to function without constantly stopping to think about the next course of action. So what is the value of combining all of these ways of discovering and analysing information? The quick answer is that by doing this, we stop thinking of our marketing ‘audiences’ as cold, emotionless ‘targets’ and recognise them as impulsive, irrational and quick thinking real people. Don’t be fooled, however, into thinking that this means people can’t be led, influenced or tempted by brands and the tactics (yes, another military word!) that they implement. At the centre of the ‘Thinking Data, Talking Human’ approach lies the fact that we embrace fully our need and desire to get under people’s skin and understand the way in which they tick and respond. We know that it’s necessary to study, analyse and model people’s behaviour in order to get closer to them and try to get them to engage with us and our brands. We like short cuts, they help us cope with the world’ ‘ Impulsivity is by far a more common human trait than calculation’ ‘ The difference is that we are acting, quickly and intelligently, on all the information that we are gathering: the transactional data, the qualitative research and the psychological understanding of human nature. By incorporating all of these elements, we stand a far better chance of not only connecting with people, but making these connections count and mean something: engaging with people on a level whereby they feel understood, relevant and important enough to be engaged with. People are easily flattered, after all: make them feel understood and important, and that there is something in it for them, and, more often than not, they are willing to be approached, spoken to, and even sold to. 2 A definition of the ‘Systems 1’ and ‘Systems 2’ brains can be found in Daniel Kahneman’s book ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ – ‘System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no [conscious] effort and no sense of voluntary control. Systems 2 allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations ... [and] are often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice and concentration’.
  5. 5. Lateral Group, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permissions of Lateral Group 5 So how does all of this actually work in terms of marketing campaigns? We will now examine a number of examples that bring to life the concept of ‘Thinking Data, Talking Human’. These examples aim to demonstrate the ways in which data, research and psychology can be combined and applied to make a real difference in the conversations and interactions brands have with their audiences, and how just by changing a word of copy here, or implementing a change of direction there, can have a huge impact on the results of a campaign. Example One Abandoning the generic Many brands and agencies build a campaign strategy on the basis of a common idea, which in many cases can evolve into a more sophisticated message by looking at the supporting data first. A great example of how a message evolved through the analysis of consumer behaviour into something truly effective was an execution undertaken for a British airline carrier. The campaign targeted people with an email offering them cheap flights abroad for the summer. The mailing was a mass, generic template, which assumed that the trigger for people wanting to use the airline was a desire to get away during the summer, and experience hot weather and an appealing location. Therefore, the messaging used simply referred to the common need to go somewhere warm and discover new and sunny climes. However, once the customer survey data was reviewed, the airline discovered that in fact, the majority of customers using the service were actually doing so because they had a holiday home in the area they were visiting. Immediately, it became clear that the method of communication with the target audience needed to evolve. Their motivation was not to go somewhere new, and they didn’t need convincing about the location. In truth, as they had a second home there, it was likely they were going to visit anyway, so the emphasis of the mailer needed to change (not completely because cheap flights and great value would still be a major appeal). However, simply by changing the subject line and the initial language used, the mailing could now directly acknowledge people’s desire to visit their holiday home, making the communication relevant, familiar and making the benefits clear: we know you have a home here, so why not fly there this summer at a cheaper price? By adding in other nuances such as dropping in familiar place names and including links and information that would both make sense and hold benefits for the recipients, the email had now transformed from being a mass sales message to a targeted and directly applicable piece of information. Needless to say, open rates and click-throughs from the email went through the roof after the e-mail was changed. This is a great example of ‘Thinking Data, Talking Human’ mainly due to its simplicity: by looking at the data available and then thinking carefully about what would appeal to human nature in this case, the brand was able to show its customers that it understood their needs and, most importantly, was able to offer them something beneficial and appealing as a result. Not rocket science, maybe, but a prime example of fact and feeling coming together to achieve a positive outcome for both customer and brand. Example Two Getting behind the trigger(s) Emotions and desires play a huge part in any human behaviour, and it’s vital that marketers put in the required effort and analysis to understand the complexities that drive people to do what they do. Especially in matters such as health and wellbeing, emotions are the key to how we make decisions and we are often spurred on in these areas by very personal drivers, such as family history, personal experiences and things we have seen and felt around us. Quitting smoking is a decision that is made for many reasons by many people, and is a hugely difficult area to deal with in terms of marketing, simply because everybody’s experience and drivers will be different. However, as made clear by our next example, the why isn’t always the clue to how best to help people in this journey. The Department of Health’s ‘Together’ CRM programme for giving up smoking is still part of the NHS toolkit today, but was originally based on analysis and research that combined data insight and psychological investigation that allowed marketers to look at exactly what kind of assistance people needed in their quest to give up the cigarettes. It is easy to assume that the biggest challenge smokers face in this difficult journey is actually deciding to give up, and as a result, a lot of previous marketing had been built around highlighting the reasons why people should quit. Highly emotive campaigns, focusing on the effects of passive smoking, the impact of health problems on family and the social stigma were common, and all were seemingly aimed at helping people to make that momentous decision to quit. However, by looking at the data and listening to the people who were calling helplines and applying for information packs identified the real root of people’s struggles. Research showed that at any given point 70% of smokers want to give up, so the decision has THINKING DATA, TALKING HUMAN Putting it into practice
  6. 6. Lateral Group, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permissions of Lateral Group 6 already been made and they need no push to help them see that quitting was the answer. What they needed was assistance in how to give up, and how to stay free of the cigarettes in the long term. The data also showed that 80% of people calling had tried to give up previously, sometimes up to five times before, and the struggle for them was achieving success, not motivation. Once this fact had been established, further research could be undertaken to look into exactly what measures could help people to overcome these barriers and complete the journey rather than just starting it over and over again. This psychological insight showed that people were much more likely to be successful if they committed to a pledge, a stop date and an element of competition with friends or family to spur them on. The result was the ‘Together’ programme, which assisted quitters every step of the way, helping them to diarise, monitor and keep up their progress, in the same way that many weight loss programmes help their participants to keep the pounds off. The lesson here is that assumptions and common beliefs are not always accurate, and that again, with a simple look at human behaviour patterns and historical data that plots trends and common threads, we can piece together the real picture, and, as with this case, really help to make a difference to those who need help. Example Three Bringing it all together Although psychology can sometimes trump data and research, and vice versa, some of the most encouraging results we’ve seen at Lateral Group have indeed been when all these elements work in tandem together. Our work for the government’s DCLG on its ‘Right To Buy’ scheme, which saw an extra £75m invested in encouraging council house tenants to buy their homes, was a classic example of bringing the elements together to create a campaign which incorporated data analysis to identify eligible tenants, absorbed additional research findings and also drew on psychological understanding of human behaviour. In creating the direct mail and door drop activity, we took steps to ensure the creative was stand out and eye-catching (a die cut house-shaped door drop was 38% more successful than a standard- shaped version) even though in research people were telling us that they wouldn’t respond to the ‘gimmicky’ version. Data showed us that eligible tenants were hard to reach, so we encouraged self- identification through door drops and direct mail. The psychological element with this campaign tied in with the traditional Behavioural Economics tactic of ‘chunking’: helping people through the process by imparting small pieces of information at a time. This helped people to identify with the fact that they were eligible, and then guided them through the process step-by-step so they didn’t feel overwhelmed, confused or put off. Not only this, but the campaign built on the inherent desire to adhere to an emerging social norm that more and more people where considering buying their council house and used this to strike a chord with the recipient. What really worked here was the use of data, research and psychology in the initial stages, which all helped us to understand the circumstances that our audience was in. The timing meant that the credit crunch was in full swing, so both psychology and research told us that people were unsure about whether they could afford to buy. We also knew, from psychological insights, that an emotional trigger was vital here: the pull of owning your own home is a strong one, and so our mailer needed to address this, but also make it simple for people to understand exactly how they could do this in their economic circumstances and where they could turn to for support and guidance through the process. The results were staggering: the take up of the scheme has doubled over the last year, and additional research and data analysis shows us that we can build on this success even further. By looking into the triggers and factors that drove those who did respond positively to the scheme, we have identified trends and patterns which will allow us to model our mailings accordingly. Crucially, these not only reflect data orientated factors such as age, gender, length of time living in an area, income, house prices and ethnicity, but also show a dependence on a very psychological element: niceness. The data we at Lateral Group analyse to understand what causes a psychological trigger shows that ‘gut feeling’ or a sense of living in a ‘nice area’ is enough for the majority of people to consider buying their homes. With this in mind, we created a niceness index and ranked areas such as the factors that contribute to an area being considered ‘nice’, even if it amounted to their opinion of the view down the street a couple hundred yards in either direction. It may seem fairly obvious, but the insights that we gain from these success stories often is: the key is in incorporating these findings into our work moving forward. THINKING DATA, TALKING HUMAN Putting it into practice
  7. 7. Lateral Group, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permissions of Lateral Group 7 THINKING DATA, TALKING HUMAN Putting it into practice Where psychology can get really interesting in this equation is when it actually helps us to see an opportunity by working against, or exposing holes in data. Data insight, we must remember, can only tell us so much, and this is sometimes where outside research, including psychological analysis, can help us to complete the puzzle. This was the case with another Government example, this time from the House of Commons, which was trying to boost the number of young people going to the polls. The data was showing that young people (especially 18 year olds, who were the focus of this campaign) were almost unreachable outside of digital media, and that online was the only way of connecting with them. The additional research indicated that this group was totally disengaged with politics, not interested in voting and unaware of the processes involved, as most of them were simply registered under their parents’ details. However, psychology tells us that people (especially the young), love seeing their name in lights and that physical, personally tailored information can make us sit up and be interested in most subjects, even those we are supposedly disengaged with. It also tells us that despite the increasingly online world we live in, 90% of conversations we have on a daily basis are still offline, and physical information provides us with reassurance and prompts us to make conversation with others. Therefore, a direct (yes, direct, not digital!) mailing was sent to all 18 year olds, in the shape of a newspaper entitled Voting Times, in which the recipient’s name was used in the headline. As a result, the mailing was putting them at the centre of the piece, and the accompanying information showed them the implications and importance that their vote could have. The results, flying in the face of both the data and the research, but echoing the psychology, were overwhelming: 80% recall of the piece, 41% had read the Voting Times and of those who had, 56% said that it improved their knowledge of voting and 64% said that it made them feel more positive towards politics and voting. Again, reflecting the psychology, 45% actually spoke to their friends about the pack, 17% of those who read the Voting Times registered to vote and a further 43% said they considered registering in the next few months. So the learning here is clear: don’t always take the black and white on board if it doesn’t quite ring true with what we know about people, habits and human nature. Sometimes, taking a gamble on these instinctive feelings can really pay off. Example Five Honesty is the best policy One of the biggest challenges that marketers face is reconciling how different emotions affect a person’s perception of an experience, and ensuring the brand message takes this into account. We worked with Aviva Investors when it found itself inundated with queries relating to its performance each time a quarterly statement was issued. Customers looking for clarification caused a surge of 200% in call centre queries and these avoidable calls placed the company’s internal system under strain. What’s more, many of these queries related to information that was already in their hands in the accompanying marketing document. Our research showed that 75% of investors only read the valuation summary, and the shiny paper that came with it often ended up in the bin, after a single glance, as the design made customers think they were being sold to. The task then was to design a document to combat this and reduce confusion by getting the message across through something that didn’t feel, or look, like it was selling anything. Behavioural Economics told us that the pain of losing money often outweighs the gain of making it. Typically when a loss occurs, a message that explains the reason, clearly and honestly, without any jargon is better received than something that tries to dress it up and cover the cracks. By combining the marketing document and statement into a cohesive, in-depth booklet, the average time a customer spent reading the collateral increased from two to fourteen minutes. This greater level of engagement meant investors were better informed, freeing up company resources and reducing the number of upset customers. Example Four Bucking the trend
  8. 8. Lateral Group, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permissions of Lateral Group 8 So where do we go from here? It’s clear that the basis for excellent understanding of customers and what makes them buy and respond positively to brands has been bubbling under marketing practices for some time, but as mentioned, now is the time to really make use of all of the tools we have at our disposal and make sure we are listening and responding ourselves to what we’ve discovered. Here are our rules for ‘Thinking Data, Talking Human’. This vein of thinking will no doubt continue to evolve and draw on further advancements in data analysis and our understanding of human behaviour, but the below is certainly a good place to start. 1 Take an integrated approach It is Data and Research and Psychological insight and you mustn’t silo them - you need to look at them in the round and draw from all of them equally and pull them all together. However, as detailed above, don’t be afraid to defy certain elements of this if you think the gamble is worth it. Psychology, in particular, can often put the cat amongst the pigeons, but we shouldn’t underestimate just how accurate our gut instincts about human nature can be. 2 Maintain a broader view You need to take a wider view than just your specific campaign and think around how people behave generally and align yourself to that. You need to be curious and observe people, and be prepared to apply this thinking to the most rigid and scientific of situations. Sometimes the human element can penetrate a baffling set of figures and bring them to life, making the answer obvious and achievable. 3 Identify what dictates behaviour You need to identify barriers, motivators and triggers (and possibly even create the latter if none exist). Once we know what makes people behave, respond and react, we can anticipate, work with, and even change these things, in order to make connections with people, and more importantly, make those connections mean something. 4 Be sure to test and learn Having seen what people do from data, you need to create hypotheses about why people do things and test this (research and in the field). Again, don’t be frightened of taking a stab in the dark or theorising about something that might not be particularly popular or commonplace. If testing and research can boost your theory, it might just be the most profitable gamble you’ve ever taken. 5 Act on the insights You need to action the insight that comes from this by building your creative and channel deployment around this. Does your creative idea ‘Think Data’ but also ‘Talk Human’ speaking to and reflecting what really makes people tick? Marketers have long been guilty of theorising and debating behavioural activity without actually applying this knowledge or putting it into practice. Now is the time to change that. THINKING DATA, TALKING HUMAN Conclusions and moving forward 6 Be decisive and recognise the power of ‘now’ What’s more, you need to act quickly and intelligently, sometimes even unpredictably, to bring these insights to life. Bear in mind the power of ‘now’: today’s society is immediate and fast moving, and factors that are affecting their decisions to buy, give, commit to behavioural change may be transient and change as quickly as they’ve come about. 7 Take a creative approach at every step Creativity isn’t just about the messaging or imagery used in a campaign. It can be a different way of doing something or a change to environment or choice defaults. A renowned example of this came from a very old, famous New York hotel that had constant complaints that their lifts were too slow. However, the cost of replacing them was simply too high, so an alternative creative solution was needed. Using the insight that wherever there is a mirror, people will always look at themselves to check their appearance. The hotel installed floor to ceiling mirrors on each side of the lifts so that when someone pressed the lift button, they would stand to one side and check their appearance which meant they were unaware of how long it took for the lift to arrive. This simple step virtually reduced complaints to zero. This demonstrates that by fusing data, research and psychology, we are giving ourselves endless opportunities to be creative at every stage of planning: we must grab these opportunities with both hands and be prepared to be surprised at where this creativity can strike and what form it can take 8 Accept failure and learn Failure is not a bad thing as long as you learn from it quickly. Without mistakes and the insights they give us into how to prepare, execute and react to situations, we wouldn’t be human ourselves. It is worth remembering the role that data can play in analysising and altering our approach, after all data provides a powerful tool to understanding the reason behind failure. Not only this but we can monitor how consumers react and alter the approach. If you are not failing every now and again, it is a sign you are not doing anything very innovative’ American author, comedian and film director Woody Allen ‘
  9. 9. Lateral Group, 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permissions of Lateral Group 9 THINKING DATA, TALKING HUMAN About Lateral Group Lateral Group is a Customer Engagement Agency with offices in the UK and North America. We create profitable interactions for brands that engage customers and influence purchase. Customer Engagement is about getting customers to engage with brands through timely and relevant integrated marketing communications We use data and insights to inform strategy and creative, using technology to deploy ‘real time’ communications. We deliver this through our proprietary Integrated Communications Management (ICM) framework. ICM is designed to help clients more effectively target, engage, deliver and evaluate their customer communications across multiple channels. This ensures that we deliver the right message to the right person, in the right place, at the right time. The Authors Mike Cavers From the DMA’s to D&AD, Caples to Cannes, Mike is an award-winning integrated creative director. He has run some of London’s most successful creative departments, but started his career in design. He moved into sales promotion as Creative Director of Cato Johnston, before becoming founding partner of Limbo, BBH’s below-the-line arm. Over the last 12 years, he’s shaped the creative offering at Payne Stracey, followed by TBWA Amsterdam as European Creative Director – Integration, working on the Nissan Account. Creative Director roles followed at Publicis Dialog, Chemistry Communications and The Marketing Store. Mike joined Lateral Group in 2012. Born in India, Mike is a proud, rugby-mad Scot who had a pet elephant as a boy. In case you’re wondering, the elephant’s name was “Hathi”, Hindi for elephant. @MrCavers Marc Michaels A marketing professional and procurement expert with extensive experience, Marc has been a champion for Marketing Communications for 27 years. Having managed hundreds of high profile Government behaviour change campaigns Marc provides ‘end to end’, specialist consultancy across strategy development, planning, implementation and evaluation. Hired to create ‘a centre for direct marketing excellence within Government’ over the years Marc built a 50+ strong professional team with a peak spend of some £60m building the Government’s use and appreciation of the value of direct in the media mix. Working on campaigns as important and diverse as Tobacco Education, Armed Forces Recruitment, Pension Credit, Change 4 Life to Preparing for Emergencies and preventing Cot Death, Marc has provided services for just about every major department and public body including BIS, Home Office, The Department of Health and DWP dealing with Chief Executives of major agencies and suppliers and civil service clients up to ministerial level. Marc joined Lateral in 2012. @MarcPMichaels @lateralgroup 0845 859 0000