Affinity Tells SXSW Crowd: Don’t Drown In Data

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Tech-driven advertising outfit, Affinity, is the only independent Australian agency selected to speak at this year’s South by South West (SXSW) digital creative festival in Austin, Texas. Managing director, Luke Brown, and director of media and business, Adam Shar, have an important message about data to share with attendees.

Brown and Shar have identified two data-related problems facing the industry: 1) Businesses are drowning in data; and 2) often businesses don’t realise the data they’re searching for is right under their respective noses.

“For many people who’ve been trying to meaningfully measure ROI, they realise there are gaps in their efforts and not only that, there’s pressure on marketers to use data to address these shortages and this has basically led to them drowning in data,” Brown told B&T.

The workshop Brown and Shar are presenting at SXSW on March 16 aims to teach businesses how to create meaningful and measurable digital outcomes. Attendees will be taught methodologies and tools to effectively gather actionable insights from the never-ending world of data.

“It’s not so much about measuring the data or retrieving lots of data, it’s about being smart with the data you have. It’s about having access to information you can use on a day-to-day basis. If it’s not actionable, you’re wasting your time,” said Brown.

Shar and Brown argue the reason data dramas plague the industry is because many marketers are guilty of turning a blind eye. “Most marketers don’t have access to this data because I don’t think they ask for it,” said Brown.

“When you get that information, you can view it on a dashboard and actually see what’s happening. Often that data already exists within a business, it’s just about being smart and using the right tools to collate it in a meaningful way,” added Shar.

Shar and Brown discovered the trend among their own clientele. They said: “They came to us asking for a way to create actionable insights out of data. Most of the time, it’s teaching them the skills to tap into the data they already have and map it out in a way that is useable.”

With data a key component in maximising ROI, it’s imperative businesses learn how to effectively execute discoverable insights. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.

“The tools for measuring data meaningfully will differ for each individual client, it’s important the client can clearly identify what their business outcomes are,” explained Shar.

“A people count isn’t appropriate unless you’re a retailer. What it’s really about is trying to understand what the requirements are and then coming up with a tailored solution that works for your business. No two businesses are identical, so no two solutions will be identical,” he added.

Shar and Brown are concerned by the industry’s apparent “acceptance of the the standard is” when it comes to data. Brown said: “We really need to move beyond that. Not being proactive about data insights because there’s no one tool that will do all your data work for you is not really acceptable.”

Affinity has developed its own tool set and platform that will allow businesses to effectively retrieve and use customer data insights. “You need to make an investment in technology in order to do it really well,” Brown said.

“A lot of marketers have a ‘launch and leave’ mentality with brands and that just damages the brand. By launching a new product, getting people really excited about it and then moving on to the next project means they’ve completely forgotten about the group they initially engaged,” said Brown. But Shar added the best measurement of outcome is by applying data insights. He said: “Using a tool that measures how effectively you engage with your customers through data insights is the best way to judge success.”

Affinity’s SXSW presentation is a registration-only event.

This article originally appeared on B&T.

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