Data Science is the new black: Lessons learnt from Money Supermarket

Data Science is the new black: Lessons learnt from Money Supermarket

Why this trendy new job title is starting to emerge as a pillar in the corporate hierarchy regardless of industry - Barrack Obamas’ administration was the first ever in the White House to introduce the role of Chief Data Scientist. Curtis Roach, Gaming producer asks can it be leveraged to grow your business and are we just scratching the surface?

It’s an inescapable fact that data has always been a crucial element for marketers, but now, as we’ve entered the realm of ‘big data’ (and quickly getting bigger) its’ far reaching impact has caught the attention of the most influential industry leaders. In fact, a recent survey carried out by Teradata with executives from all over the globe revealed that 74% of them expected their data marketing spend to increase significantly in 2016.

I recently attended a presentation by Money Supermarkets’ Chief Data Scientist, Orlando Machado at their central London headquarters where he shared his thoughts on the capabilities of data science and gave some insight as to why this trendy new job title is starting to emerge as a pillar in the corporate hierarchy.

Orlando believes that the true relevance of data science is its’ simple but unique ability to extend the conversation with the customer. Money Supermarket is the largest media buyer for Google AdWords in the UK (www.adgooroo.com), which is an indication of just how fundamental digital data is to their business model.

A great example given by Orlando on how they put this culture into practice is with their automated quotes process for car insurance customers. I’m sure most of us will be familiar with the automated insurance emails that we receive when it’s time for a renewal. Orlando and his team found that by experimenting with the format of the email e.g sending some renewal emails without prices, they could understand their customers better through analysis of their reactions. The data they collected enabled them to group their customers at a micro level and furthermore, send out thousands of emails that were individually tailored, significantly boosting their engagement levels.

According to Orlando, the beauty of these experimental data models is that they can actually be re-purposed and used across the ever expanding range of platforms we have at our disposal such as Facebook, Twitter or even your own web usage analytics.

In the gaming world it’s widely agreed that the increase in M&A activity we’ve witnessed of recent, which incidentally shrinks the market, is a direct reflection of the growing need for data. The level of competitiveness in the gaming space is high and the infinite range of promotional deals available means that profit margins are being driven down and customer retention is a major challenge. Many believe this has driven increased M&A activity, as a key benefit of these transactions is that operators are able to grow their customer base instantly and significantly reduce the impact of low customer retention. Recently it was reported by the Financial Times that the Ladbrokes Coral merger was being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority after its’ initial investigation had found that the tie-up to create Britain’s largest bookmaker risked a “substantial lessening of competition”.

Similar to the mind-set of Orlando, I believe that the rise both in scale and use of ‘big data’ means that operators will now have the ability to create a completely personalised customer experience, increasing consumer engagement, in-turn growing customer retention (and spend) organically, creating loyal customers.

He also mentioned that Barrack Obamas’ administration was the first ever in the White House to introduce the role of Chief Data Scientist. In February last year, President Obama personally appointed DJ Patil to maximise the power of data for the benefit of the entire nation, Patil was actually first famed for creating a Linkedin algorithm more commonly known as ‘People you may know’, another market disruptive product of ‘big data’. This should be a clear indicator to us of the important role data now plays in modern society regardless of industry, it won’t be going out of fashion any time soon and it must be taken seriously.

The two biggest take-aways for me after hearing this presentation were that although the idea of a customer-centric, data driven business sounds great in theory, it cannot be achieved simply by the appointed of a ‘Data Scientist’ it must be a collaborative effort, a culture that is adopted throughout the organisation. Money Supermarket is a perfect example of this. But what is even more important and exciting to realise is that, in the words of Orlando “The whole industry is just scratching the surface”. There is so much more we can do and it’s exciting to see how the market will take advantage of this going forward.

At EiG this coming October we will be taking a closer look into the capabilities of data mining, the role of the Data Scientist and how it can be leveraged to grow your business. For more information, go to www.eigexpo.com

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