dunnhumby’s Big Data success starts with getting good data

By Brandon Tensley

How do you use customer data to drive customer loyalty and sustain overall success? 

According to Chief Data Scientist Giles Pavey of dunnhumby, a big U.K.-based, big data-driven international company, the answer lies first and foremost in adopting a customer-first approach: to put it another way, making a customer’s needs and wants the epicenter of decision-making. 

Pavey and dunnhumby’s Global Multichannel Director Jason Nathan kicked off INMA’s sold out, two-day Big Data for Media 2015 conference at Google headquarters in London.

Dunnhumby was born on delivering services through Big Data. The concept isn’t totally clear-cut, but keep in mind the “four Vs: data that’s high in validity, variability, velocity, and volume.” 

But how does dunnhumby realise success? 

Getting good data – paying attention to a customer’s demographics and transaction history – is a critical starting point. Companies ought to understand and document data, which gives insight into a customer’s journey – discovering, shopping, buying, and reflecting – and then they should benchmark and score this data against the known best practices of other organisations, Nathan told the attendees.

Generating data, including “hidden data,” comes in many forms. A few examples of essential known, and unknown, data-gathering techniques include:

  • Online shopping (does the customer like to use substitutes?).

  • Customer reviews (what does the customer like to talk about?).

  • Phone conversations (was the customer ultimately satisfied with the journey?).

But having data isn’t enough: “It’s only a function of value, depending on what you do with it,” Nathan said. Translating what you know into action, in other words, is key. 

Dunnhumby was among the first companies to use a customer loyalty scheme: For instance, introducing a loyalty card – which rewards repeat customers – at Tesco doubled the company’s profits over the course of only a decade. This is important for connecting gathered data around a single customer view. 

The takeaway, according to Pavey and Nathan: Make goods relevant. This is the core idea of segmenting, or knowing as many people as possible as well as possible. And it fuels dunnhumby’s customer-centric principle that anything that can be personaliaed should be personaliaed.

If you’ve followed the above tips, then chances are, you’ll see a change in customer behaviour, the speakers said. 

Achieving this vision of success isn’t easy. But dunnhumby’s tried and true embrace and utilization of the power of Big dDta has helped the data science company to create better experiences for more than 770 million customers all across the globe.

Dunnhumby’s model – data, insight, action, and change in behaviour – is the crux of its success.

About Brandon Tensley

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