Ecommerce Insights: Coty, GSK and Publicis discuss the true value of CDPs, data and analytics

By Alex Tait, Founder, Entropy (@astait)

At eCommerce Expo last week I chaired a panel on the topic of “Digital Commerce measurement: KPIs, analytics, attribution and econometrics”.

Taking part were Kristina Kaganer, Global VP, Commerce Data Products and Analytics at Coty; Jane Smith, Digital Content and Commerce Lead (EMEA) at GSK; and Liz Salway, Global Audience and Data Lead at Publicis.

Here are some of the topics discussed and the panellists’ responses:

You need a variety of data sources to measure digital commerce effectively

“If you are a manufacturing company, you don’t always get the data you need from retailers. Retailer and data portals, where they exist, let you see sales, but we also like to see competitive share. To do that we work with Edge so we can see a statistical approximation of share. It is often useful, however, to supplement that picture from other data sources, such as Dunnhumby, Kantar household panel data, and our econometrics programme.

In evaluating performance, retailers really don’t have the silver bullet, which is why using a variety of data sources is necessary. Where there are gaps, we lean on our analytics team to put together a story, to bring the different pieces together across different markets.”

“Data availability is also very different across markets. In the US, for example, brands can get a lot more data out of retailers. This is partly down to differing privacy regulations, but another factor is that the US has been monetising data sources for many years. So retailers set expectations that you have to pay for additional data.”

“Internally, however, if someone comes to you wanting data, you should ask what it is for. The focus really should be less on data sources and more on objectives.”

“It can be hard sometimes for organisations to set themselves up for success with digital commerce more generally. A problem can be how you get teams aligned across an organisation’s goals. For example, there might be an ecommerce team separate from the media team and then procurement between them.”

GDPR’s impact on measurement

“The impact of GDPR has been to shift the conversation around the provision of data for measurement. We’ve moved to looking at the overall profit and loss impact more, although, as we are a fast-moving consumer goods/consumer packaged goods company, we’ve never really relied on third party tracking for conversion measurement.

GDPR has certainly forced us to have difficult conversations with our adtech partners, who had no consistent approach.”

“Despite the fact we are talking about digital commerce, we need to remember that attributing the impact of the upper funnel on sales data remains very important. However, nowadays there isn’t a nice, neat loop.

If you can’t track frequency properly across the walled gardens, you can’t even measure the impressions it took to lead to an action. You end up looking at Facebook, YouTube or Amazon in isolation. From a measurement standpoint there is a frustrating lack of clarity across the ecosystem.”

Use analytics creatively

“[An example of how we’ve used data intelligently] is a recent product launch. We ended up alienating our base consumer. We penetrated new segments but alienated our historic base, so we needed to understand how to bring them back. [As an FMCG / CPG] we didn’t have conversion data from our retail channels, so we used qualitative panel data, led by our insight team, to understand the consumer journey trigger points. We then used analytics from our website as a behavioural base to develop look-alike audiences from specific purchase behaviour.”

Do the benefits outweigh the costs of using a CDP (Customer Data Platform)?

“What is the value of a CDP? It depends on the product you have and the category. If you have customer relationship management data then it will have value. This has got me wondering if that is the way to go, as it offers a view across the walled gardens.”

“At our company we are on a bit of a journey to understand the value it might bring, but my suspicion is that, for us, it might be using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

“With CPDs we’ve seen a tendency for a whirlwind of excitement from the IT department, where it often sits. However, the use cases for marketing are often not thought about up front. In my view, it isn’t even the best way to push data into activation.”

“There can be a tendency to get excited about first party data, of which, historically, we have had little. Then, however, we are reminded that personalisation isn’t everything: reach and availability often trump it.”

“My advice would be to proceed with caution. I’ve been trying over the last few years to figure out what the term means.  I’m not sure it is that different from a DMP. There needs to be consideration of the reality huge opportunity cost, not just of adoption but of taking people on the journey to use it.”

“[For our CDP], we adopted a glocal [hybrid global team and local market] approach. Global did a lot of the heavy lifting, then we worked with our agencies to create our own taxonomies, our customer data view, and created use cases for the local markets on their behalf. So we were powering local activation from the global team.”

Organisations need to think how they set up programmes to develop digital commerce capability across markets

“In order to understand how to develop digital commerce, I worked for 6–8 months with local markets to understand how they operate, learning how to run customer marketing and the retail marketing organisation. What had to shift was the partnership between us and the retailer and what you ask for from it. The big learning for me was that numbers aren’t the be-all and end-all. You really need to look at the human aspect too.”

“Well, my view is that without numbers you are going to struggle to elevate the conversation. You need short, sharp pilots. To get really good at it I often think you need to accelerate external hires.”

“My company had what I think was a good approach to developing our eCommerce capability internationally. We built a separate central ecomm team to get it set up but then localised it by gradually embedding it in the local market teams.”

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