‘What we will show you today is the future of customer acquisition’, declared data pioneer and Starcount Chief Data Scientist, Clive Humby, at Starcount’s latest event launching the company’s newest product, Starcount Audiences.
On Wednesday 24th October, an audience of experts from across various industries gathered to hear details on the latest product to emerge from Starcount, as well as why it is needed.
The presentation was kicked off by Starcount CEO, Edwina Dunn, who briefly explained the history of Starcount, as well as her and Humby’s journey, from their beginnings at CACI to their founding of global data firm dunnhumby and their pioneering work developing the Tesco Clubcard.
Next, Humby took the stage to illustrate how consumer targeting has evolved in the last 60 years but has stagnated in recent decades. Humby himself was well placed to highlight this evolution, as he was one of the minds behind Acorn, the product from CACI, which kicked off the consumer targeting revolution of the 1980s, allowing brands to target customers based on where they lived. In the 1990s, Dunn and himself went on to pioneer the idea of using customer transactional data to understand customers.
‘Now, however, we want to understand what customers love, so that we can make our brands and products more relevant to them’, said Humby. ‘If we can understand what really matters to people and engage with them in a way that works for them, we can increase ROI by at least 20%.’
‘Right message, at the right time, with the right channel’
Humby went on to explain how relevance is one of the most crucial aspects in any form of customer relations, especially in the post-GDPR age. ‘GDPR has meant that the customer has taken control of the data, because they don’t want to be bombarded with messaging that means nothing to them. But if we are giving them the right message, at the right time, with the right channel, then we will not only prevent losing any customers, but we can guarantee that we will gain them too.’
The problem with the current form of customer targeting, as Humby put it, is that much of marketing is immensely siloed – the multiple channels that marketeers utilise all use different metrics for targeting, and while many of these individual tools might have progressed immensely, the fact that they cannot work across other channels means that the idea of omnichannel is still a myth.
Furthermore, it has allowed a ‘Walled Garden’ situation to spring up, meaning many of the targeting tools, like Facebook, are not transparent with how they use their data. ‘All of this’, says Humby, ‘means that it is hugely difficult for brands to be relevant to their customers’.
‘When I first started, storage for 1 terabyte of data cost $1 million. Now, it costs $30. That is what has made change possible – we can hold & harness as much data as we wish, we just need the tools to effectively use that data. That tool is Audiences’.
Enter Starcount’s Chief Product Officer, Rowena Humby, who took over to demonstrate how Starcount Audiences can help brands.
Humby went on to illustrate how the product can help brands in four main areas: lookalike acquisition, enriching your customers, building an audience and profiling local audiences. Using a range of dynamic data sources, including social data and open source, and combining this with a brand’s customer data, will allow companies to understand their customers, who they are, what they are passionate about and where they are, better than ever before. On top of this, the information is refreshed monthly allowing for accurate and dynamic insight that can be exported, through the tool, across most channels.
The power of omnichannel
Following this demonstration, Dunn stepped in to chair a Q&A, inviting Rowena and Clive, as well as Karan Singh, an expert in programmatic and digital, and Dino Ioannou, a veteran of traditional marketing.
Dunn kicked things off with a question to Singh about how Audiences would fit into a programmatic world. ‘Programmatic is growing massively as a different way of buying media’, replied Singh. ‘This automation can apply to Out-Of-Home and TV as well as digital, and as a different way of doing things, it can be useful. But one of the limitations of it is these ‘Walled Gardens’, where there is a lot of rich data which can only be used on one channel, but with Audiences, it’s omnichannel, which is hugely powerful.’
Unique passions and motivations
This was followed by a question, from a representative of a major London retailer, about how to utilise Audiences to find customers, without a brand having to use its own data as a starting point. Clive Humby answered this, explaining that, in many cases, the motivation for buying a single product might be different, but that is where the unique passions and motivations behind Audiences can help brands to identify customers, without having to input their own data.
‘With toothpaste, for example, one customer might purchase a specific brand because of brand loyalty, while another might purchase because of the tooth whitening abilities of that brand. This is why our 150-passion set and our 15 motivational mindsets are important, because blending the two allows you to really think about how to understand different customers and the mindsets of individual people at a micro-level, especially if you want to look for new customers.’
Room for expansion
Another question, from a representative of a leading luxury lifestyle brand, touched on the topic of Audiences being available internationally. Both Clive and Rowena explained that, as postcodes underpin much of the insight from Audiences, a country has to have a viable postal code system for it to be effective. ‘However, there are many international markets that fit this profile and that we hope to move into soon such as Canada, the U.S. and certain parts of Europe’, concluded Clive.
Dunn brought the event to a close, thanking all the attendees for coming and adding a few final thoughts: ‘This is but a step on Starcount’s journey to make data more transparent and usable, and we hope that you can all share in that journey.’