Aldo Agostinelli

It is easy to talk about “data”. Everyone knows they are fundamental for business; and also that it is crucial to analyze them properly and according to strategic targets. However, any digital transformation plan, nowadays, must take into consideration at least three additional factors. The first is the assessment of the efficacy of any action carried out. Failure to evaluate it, would nullify even the most articulated and specific initiative. Thanks to data, we can  now evaluate quite a lot of elements, from users’ actions to their sentiment and even their emotional response. Then, every step should be followed by a careful analysis. Especially if we consider that the GDPR has been in force for one year and people are finally realizing the value of their data and what to do to protect them. In this view, a little mistake, even made in good faith, or a lack of transparency in the relationship with users, may be paid a high price (and I am not talking about the fines foreseen by the regulation!).

British Airways can be taken as an example of a successful digital transformation. The British Airlines has decided to address the needs of its customers in relation to travelling, and, without wasting too much time in asking experts to draw long lists of hypothesis, in 2012 did something really simple: they questioned their customers. The survey revealed that their passengers had defined themselves as busy people ( with no time to waste ), who get annoyed when offered useless opportunities (coherently with the fact that they have no time to waste ). Having understood that, British Airways started analyzing their online behaviour and then worked “Know Me”, their exclusive loyalty programme. Such service offers holiday packages and tailored flights. Basically, the airlines has gone through their digital transformation by changing their way of thinking and interacting with their passengers. Nowadays, the company can identify every single customer among the 110 million people who use their flights and already owns the data needed for customizing the travel experience of over 50% of them (British Airways: the journey to personalisation).

What can we learn from this case? That the target of an efficient and effective  digital transformation shall not be the collection of data, but the person behind such data. In Italy we have started realizing this, but too slowly and not deeply enough. Although it seems quite obvious that personalization is the key to business success, regardless the size of the company involved. According to the Osservatorio Omnichannel Customer Experience of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, 95% of national companies  collects customers’ data but only 33% of them analyze such data and use them to enhance their customers’ experience according to individual preferences. 44% of the companies admits not doing it, and 23% claims to be working on this aspect. A disappointing scenario, especially if we consider that multi-channel customers, those whose purchases are somehow influenced by the web, are almost 35,5 millions (+3,8 million compared to 2017) and represent 67% of the Italian people over 14 (Multi-channel customers: the road to maturity). The market cannot wait, though. Competition is global, fierce, and not willing to waste time.

The real value of the digital transformation and big data in marketing is not to provide  an insight on “who” buys  “what” but “why”: understanding customers to attract them and then maintain them.

How and why do you use users’ data? Tweet  @agostinellialdo.

To find out more about the digital world, you may read my latest book entitled: “People Are Media” 

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Aldo Agostinelli