Group M’s Mebrulin Francisco: “In 2018 Companies will Start Connecting Data Streams Through All Devices to Fuel AI”
What: We talked to Mebrulin Francisco, managing partner and expert in multicultural marketing analytics at Group M, and she shared some of the key insights to take into account when approaching data analytics.
Why it matters: Using and understanding big amounts of data to understand consumers' habits and needs lies at the very heart of success in marketing.
Portada: In your opinion, what were the biggest technological trends that impacted marketing in 2017? Where do you see them going this year?
Mebrulin Francisco, Managing Partner, GroupM: "Some of the biggest technological trends in 2017 impacted not only how marketing works but also how we behave as consumers. The top three that I can think of are Artificial Intelligence(AI)/Machine Learning, Internet of Things (IoT) and Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR). If the CES is any indication, we have not seen the last of these trends. In fact, some of the biggest product introductions came from this category, the Vive Pro and wireless promise to introduce wireless VR technology. But what is going to be really interesting in 2018 is how companies are going to start connecting the data streams through all these devices and technologies to fuel artificial intelligence. To date, we mostly have been using artificial intelligence to automate the data mining process, but what happens when machines start collecting and connecting data from all these devices and learning behavior? We are not there yet, but we are seeing companies starting to play in this area."
Portada: What's your perspective on the Geoscape acquisition of Claritas in the context of multicultural research?
M.F.: "I personally think this is amazing for the industry. Claritas is a well-known and trusted partner in geolocation analysis but they didn’t have the level of rigor and audience depth that Geoscape had through their multicultural audience models. So when it came down to choosing a data partner with this level of geo/spatial range it was always between these two companies. However, given that Claritas is also connected to Nielsen data, Claritas usually won out. Since it’s all rolled into one, I suspect that now Geoscape will have an increased level of visibility across the industry, with a higher chance of a broader appeal. I’m personally excited to see how these two powerhouses of local data will come together and create new product offerings to change the way we think about and use local data."
Portada: Many companies are beginning to use data analytics, what are the first steps to get into data analysis?
M.F.: "If an organization is starting from scratch, the first step is definitely to hire talent that understands analytics and data infrastructure. Analytics can be very profitable and propel a brand’s competitive advantage. However, if you do not understand how to build a team of data scientists, how to use the appropriate tools or how to create a data platform that can be embedded into the culture of the organization, it would be very difficult to get much use out of it. Once the practice of analytics is put into place, the organization then needs to train key decision makers in the organization on how to integrate analytics into their day to day work."
The first step is definitely to hire talent that understands analytics and data infrastructure.
Portada: Once you have great amounts of data, how do you make sense of it? What questions should firms "ask" their data?
M.F.: "This is the opportunity to get creative. The fantastic thing about analytics is that you can ask what is happening, why it’s happening and will it happen again and these questions can be applied to any discipline. For example, working with brand marketers some of the questions I tend to ask are: What was happening at a macro level that was causing a difference in consumption by multicultural segments versus non-multicultural segments? Do we have a true understanding of the life cycle of the category of multicultural segments? How was the brand consumed? Leveraging usage behavior, can we predict how many multicultural segments will be in the market for a given category? Can we predict the potential conversion pool for our brand? If so, can this be quantified to help the brand management team discuss appropriate media funding? Finally, what are the nuances of this category and brand that must be addressed to help the brand become more relevant for the customer?"
Portada: Which data analysis tools would you recommend?
M.F.: "This is a hard question to answer because the tool you use is dependent on what you are trying to achieve. For example, if my end goal is to help my organization quickly decipher a pattern I might use a data visualization tool such as Tableau. This would be very different if what I wanted to rune predictive analytics which would require other tools that allow me to mine massive amount of data such as SAS, Oracle or IBM."
Brands assume that the same strategic approach for general audiences should be applied to all consumers, creating a dangerous blind spot.
Portada: What would you say are the nuances of the Hispanic market to take into account in data analysis?
M.F.: "Brands assume that the same strategic approach for general audiences should be applied to all consumers, creating a dangerous blind spot. Ideally, this blind spot should be addressed by leveraging data analytics to prescribe appropriate implementation processes. However, applying a data-driven approach in a multicultural space is riddled with challenges: consumer ethnicity data is limited in datasets; there is a lack of expertise to contextualize multicultural trends, and a myriad of cultural complexities can blur meaningful insights."
Check out Mebrulin Francisco's VIDEO interview: