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Equifax’s Mykolas Rambus: ‘There are still a lot of problems in data wrangling’

  • Data driven marketing is still a distant goal for most financial services organization.
  • But they're closer than ever, according to the head of Equifax's data driven marketing group.
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Equifax’s Mykolas Rambus: ‘There are still a lot of problems in data wrangling’

Today’s episode of Marketing Talk is all about data driven marketing.

Marketing is evolving within financial service, combining both art and science, both branding and acquisition. Data-driven marketing is a topic we hear a lot aout on this show. Joining us today is Mykolas Rambus, the general manager of data-driven marketing at Equifax. His organization helps financial services clients maintain and grow deeper relationships with their customers.

Myk and I talk about the challenges that still persist in data wrangling and how marketers and marketing teams have taken a giant leap when it comes to establishing data integrity. He shares insights from across the industry into how data driven marketing is helping to drive lifetime customer value. We also get into voice marketing and the role data plays there in helping evolve that new technology.

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The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

Data wrangling still an issue

As much as there’s great hope for data driven marketing in organizations, there are still some fundamentals that have to get taken care of. We hear from our customers that there are still problems in data wrangling — just getting the data organized.

Everyone talks about having a singular view of the customer across channels. The reality is that it’s quite hard from a systems perspective. It’s beginning to get there. The term data driven marketing came into vogue several years ago. It feels like we’re just getting to a point where the platforms and teams are catching up.

The evolving structure of marketing teams in an age of data

Marketing teams have evolved to a degree. One of the hardest roles to hire for these days is data science. Marketing analytics has certainly evolved over the years. As it increasingly lends itself to being deep in data science and modeling, the challenge is finding great people who also know marketing. Analytics in many organizations is growing up, similarly to how technology has grown up over the past 25 years.

Now, we’re seeing more distinctive marketing analytics capabilities with deep skills in data science and modeling — that’s the interface we are most excited about and see becoming standard in the industry.

In the wake of Facebook, what about data integrity?

Equifax’s Mykolas Rambus

As we look at issues with any number of brands, how information is sourced and how third party data influences campaigns is an issue. We call it data provenance — was it ethically sourced? Can marketing talk to legal and compliance about how this third party information was obtained and put into the models? The notion around data integrity is a big issue now and will be for years to come.

Marketers increasingly focus on customer lifetime value

Financial marketers are looking beyond acquisition costs to customer lifetime value. It’s one of the exciting things I’m excited about at Equifax is our economic graph. We as an organization are well informed of individual and household debt, income and wealth. Having that full picture gives you a full view of customer value.

Marketers are not just looking at whether they are efficient getting people through the door, but whether these are the right people. As we head to a world of increased personalization, eventually the marketer’s demand will be how to get the perfect customer based on the offering or service I have today.

In brokerage, for example, there are big distinctions between acquisition costs and customer value. Say you get a new brokerage client that funds her account. If she remains inactive, it’s basically a write-off of the acquisition costs. You’re looking for someone who not only opens an account, but also funds and makes investments. It’s about taking it to a more granular level to make personalized offers to the kind of individual I really want to bring to the organization.

Voice marketing is still early days

The big challenge here is when the interaction is no longer visual — there’s no eyeball or real estate — it’s about presenting an offer. So, personalization matters a lot. How do you figure out preference?

With search results, the first four or five search results may see traffic. But with voice, it’s probably just going to be the top hit. As marketers think about engaging activity and interest with only one shot, that’s a big issue. It’s still early days. We’re probably still three or four years out from mass adoption. You can see the numbers every year growing quite substantially.

The other analogy I like to draw is with online media. So much traffic and acquisition comes through Facebook and Google. The same will happen with voice with Amazon in a leading position. You’ll also have telcos that are beginning to leverage their assets to create platforms. It’s still very much evolving into how to think about offers in a single presentment world and with whom to partner to get the story going.

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