Data: where to start and how

Bart, our reporter on duty, went to the STIMA seminar 'Data: where to start and how'. He has distilled what he learnt from the interesting presentations for you. See if you're still afraid of Big Data after reading his report...

'Data', 'Big Data', and more recently 'Smart Data'. There's no doubt about it: we're surrounded by data. Stimulated by this baseline we went to Brussels, where Stima was running a maintenance seminar (DATA: WHERE TO START AND HOW) with a range of views on how to deal with data. Read the report by Bart Verhoeven, our Account Manager Digital Marketing.

Session 1: Omnichannel 

Sven Bally from Veritas explained to us in great detail how developing a smart data capture platform and processing that data helps Veritas to be competitive in an omni-channel world. In his experience, omni-channel focuses not on channels but on touch points that can be identified in the customer journey and that are also built into the marketing strategy of Veritas. The intention is – inevitably – to understand Veritas customers better, hone their own business processes and make every customer interaction a touch point and then link these together.

Session 2: Analytics to optimize Salesforce 

Filip Weyne from BPost Bank and Thierry Van de Merckt from Bisnode told us how analytics are used to optimise their sales force in the local branches to achieve cross- and upsell objectives. The starting point was to estimate how great the potential was for BPost Bank for a specific product offering. By combining transactional data from BPost Bank with Bisnode's own data knowledge, it was possible among other things to display in a visually attractive way which office was performing best relative to its potential, in order to obtain an accurate sales funnel for each office and see which municipalities customers come from per office.
Even more importantly, though, the potential prospects have more than doubled, the number of new customers has increased by 40,000 and the cost effectiveness for acquisition has increased fivefold.

Session 3: the toothbrush test for start-ups

Patrick Glenisson (Business & Decision) for his part gave concrete examples of start-ups and large companies that significantly increased the value they extracted from data by asking the right value-driven questions. His definition of analytics is therefore 'clever use of data to make better decisions'. One thing that was new for us is the toothbrush test: if you can manage to use someone or a platform related to big data skills twice a day, the investment has succeeded. The example was given of Accor, where the site's home page is personalised on the basis of the visitor's context and earlier web experiences, leading not only to an increase of 150% in banner clicks, but also to a doubling of the conversion rate at the call centres thanks to personalised add-ons.

Session 4: the big data success story of Colruyt

In a challenging retail environment with a continuously changing shopper, Colruyt understands that data is a crucial factor in serving its customers better. However, the complexity of both shoppers and data makes this increasingly difficult. The idea therefore emerged of sharing data with other stakeholders such as suppliers in order to make data really 'actionable'. Michon Van Doorn is the commercial manager of data sharing at Colruyt. She referred to the questions and prejudices that both Colruyt and the suppliers raised: what about private label vs. A-label, impact on the buying process, impact on Colruyt’s image, and so on? An exchange takes place of data and questions that are relevant to both parties, and only aggregated data is exchanged (for example, it is not necessary for Colruyt for the Danone section to increase, but the yogurt section). The advantages and disadvantages of this mutual exchange of data were explained (we also noted that suppliers agree a price with Colruyt for the data). All this leads to greater mutual understanding and trust, and to the devising and setting up of tactical and strategic projects, i.e. actions in the short term and in the medium to long term.

Session 5: isn't new data better?

Dominique Vercraeye from TNS Dimarso concluded with the one-liner: 'analyse with care, interpret with flair'. Analysing data is good, but understanding its meaning is better; and 'marketing fibre' remains indispensable for this! In this last session he put the relevance of 'Big Data' into perspective: he prefers New Data, the correct analysis of which will lead to qualitative predictions, and in so doing undermined his own survey of past history in order to illustrate the power of the new media (Internet and social media). For example, did you know that the traditional claim that 70% of the decisions in a supermarket happen in-store and are hence impulse-driven has been fundamentally debunked in recent studies? At the same time, Dominique made a passionate plea to turn the modern marketer into a solution-oriented partner with a clear vision of what needs to be measured and what this means in concrete terms for the customer's business.

Kris Vranken, Direct Marketing Personality of the Year in 2014, rounded off the seminar on a striking note: think about your story and then look at how the data fits into it: with data, you are nothing without vision.


Are you too convinced of the importance of data, like our Bart? Contact us to find out more about how a fully customised multi-source data dashboard can make your data yield returns.

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