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All Together’s monthly CEO Circles are a platform for our members to discuss pertinent business issues in confidence. Each session is led by an industry expert from our team of Volunteer Advisors. This month’s topic, ‘How to build a data-driven marketing organisation’, was led by Tobin Ireland (previous CEO and Founding Chairman of Smartpipe) and Anthony Waller (Corporate Partner at CMS).

This session was aided by a presentation created by the Mobile Marketing Association.

Click here if you wish to take a look for yourself.

Where to focus

Two main issues became apparent during the course of the discussion. The first was that our CEOs found data overwhelming, expensive, and time consuming. Not only is data often held captive behind paywalls imposed by third parties, but it is also difficult to process once you have it. Our participants then compared the ways in which they had begun to manage their data, which threw up some interesting ideas. Tobin stressed that every business is different, and explained that data usage is a strategic decision that needs to be based upon two things: the nature of the business, and brand strategy. He believes that a constant dialogue between business owners would be extremely beneficial in this regard. Sharing experiences is a solid way to guide and inspire others, whilst also ensuring that mistakes can be avoided. However, until such a dialogue is formed, here are a few tips for every business to consider:

Work with what you have.

One CEO shared how they had built a clear profile of their customer using data from D2C sales on their website, despite this being their smallest stream of revenue. Limited data can still be very powerful, and using what you have to create a clear profile of your customer is a fantastic place to start. This profile will inform your future decisions. For example, this CEO was using their customer profile to create a media plan, which they believed would be more effective given their increased knowledge about their target audience.

Look for ways to automate.

Perhaps one of the most useful aspects of the digital age is the increased capacity to automate, particularly for businesses. SMEs have limited resources, so finding ways to reduce the number of processes that need human attention can be hugely beneficial. Data tracking services, such as Klaviyo, are useful tools to help lighten the load for you and your team. Once you have established your legal basis for collecting data, these are the key principles to consider: Be selective. One mistake Tobin had seen many times in his experience was a propensity to store too much data. It is easy to think that you should collect and keep as much information as possible, yet this is rarely advisable. Analysing data takes time, so it is essential to prioritise which types of data to process. Determine which information provides you with the most actionable insight before collecting and analysing more of it. Data Protection Laws? The Circle’s second issue centred around legality. With data becoming increasingly regulated and scrutinised, compliance with the law is something every business needs to be mindful of. We called on the help of our partners at CMS law in order to help answer some of the questions posed by our CEOs.

Tobin Ireland: Data-Driven Pioneer //

All Together Volunteer Advisor, Tobin Ireland, is a pioneer within the world of data. Find some highlights of his illustrious, data-driven career below:

Founded Smartpipe, aiming to build the largest customer data platform in the world.

Founding chairman of Trouva and Adbrain

Special Industry Advisor to MMA Global – data experts and data connectivity platforms, Datavant and Liveramp

Senior Independent NXD at Lovehoney

Founded Noos Energy – providing next-generation data analytics for smart energy

// Focus on what data you are collecting or want to collect. 

// Consider if it is personal data – the law considers data to be personal if it includes personal information, such as an IP address.

// If the data you are collecting is not personal,GDPR is not relevant.


// Focus on the legal basis you have for collecting or using that information. The most common way to do this is to ask customers to consent to your use of their information. 

// The Information Commissioner’s Office  website is an invaluable source of information when developing data policy.

Privacy by design.

 When you design products or services, think about the way you use data from the outset. Do not collect data that you do not need or have legal basis for. You should also be wary of holding on to data for longer than is necessary.

Transparency and accountability.

Be clear with what you are doing with customers’ information. The best place to stipulate this is in your privacy policy, which is mandatory for any business that collects data. When you acquire data from a third party, you still have an obligation to inform the customer. There are two ways in which this can be done. The first is a pass-through obligation where your privacy information is passed on to the customer via the third-party. The second way of doing this is to get in touch with the customer yourself. It is not the law to have suitable data protection in place, but it can be hugely beneficial. If you can engage your customers and gain their trust by being transparent, you stand a better chance of gaining their permission to collect and use more of their data. Tobin lauded Zoopla for their privacy policy, which is not presented as a long, indigestible legal document, but rather something that customers can understand and access easily. The last aspect of data usage that was discussed in this session was the benefit to businesses of having a clear and considered approach to data. Anthony emphasised the importance of having a clear idea of how you use, manage, and protect data. This will help you to give a satisfactory answer should you be asked any questions about it. Being able to do so protects the value of your business as it shows you have taken a careful, considered approach to something which investors are now taking extremely seriously.

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We would like to thank our Volunteer Advisors and Circle hosts, Tobin and Anthony, for offering their invaluable expertise and experience. Thank you also to CMS Law for providing crucial legal advice. All of the aforementioned parties are available to contact for further advice, so please do get in touch if you would like an introduction. We also recommend checking out CMS’ EquiP program for more brilliant information.

2022-12-01T09:47:47+00:00January 20, 2022|
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