Utility Week

Utility Week 16th June 2017

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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24 | 16TH - 22ND JUNE 2017 | UTILITY WEEK Operations & Assets Market view T he importance of data in marketing is well known across all industries. A 2017 study by Jaywing found that 92 per cent of marketers say data management is a priority for their organisation – this rises to 96 per cent for utilities marketers. We all know there is plenty of data avail- able. With new technologies, marketers can capture more information about their cus- tomers than was previously possible – but are utilities making the most of it? Using this data, marketers can unlock insights into customer behaviour like never before, and use this to deliver more person- alised and seamless people-based communi- cations, on the channels customers are most likely to engage with. By taking this bespoke approach to marketing, utilities providers are able to stand out from the competition. With customer ratings and feedback affecting consumers' supplier choices, it is no longer price alone that influences the decision to switch. Factors like long hold times and mismanaged communications can really impact a purchase decision. This shi means data-driven marketing has never been more important to help shape the best expe- rience for consumers. Customer relationships will become utilities' most important asset, and customer data – previously only used for billing purposes – will be the foundation for building those relationships to both retain and attract new customers. Yet new research shows most utili- ties have barely scratched the surface of what is possible. Transforming data into value and turning insight into action is not straightforward. Here are some top tips for those working in utilities to help transform their data into value: 1. Start with a best practice approach to data management. If customer insight is key to competitive advantage in the digital age, then data will be the fuel to provide this insight. But you will only gain the right insights if you have the right data infrastructures and processes in place. All data is valuable but not all data is equally valuable. A pragmatic approach is required to implementing an appropriate data environment that can deliver immediate business value while being flexible enough to take on new and exciting sources of data as they become available. 2. Ensure your retention and acquisition strategy is informed by insight. The competitive, easily comparable and switchable nature of the utilities market means marketers need to place equal focus on acquiring and retaining customers. Data can inform the whole marketing mix by personalising communications across every channel at an individual level. By ensur- ing your strategy is based on data and insight you are already steps ahead of the competition. 3. Get the right technology in place. Improving data-driven marketing can become complicated without access to the right tools and analysis. Emerging intelli- gence platforms are bringing these two sides together, integrating rich and disparate cus- tomer and market data into a single data- driven model. By leveraging data-driven technology capable of tracking an individu- al's complete customer journey, marketers can use this information to engage custom- ers with recommendations that best fit their needs to create deeper relationships and increased customer satisfaction. 4. Connect online and offline channels and data. Given the rise in customers hopping between channels and devices to manage and engage with their providers, improving cross- channel marketing and measuring its effec- tiveness is harder to achieve. By joining the dots between online and offline customer journeys you can create a single customer view, improve the customer experience and improve your return on investment at the same time. 5. Personalisation that goes beyond "Hello [first name]". Most utilities marketers (89 per cent) per- sonalise email campaigns. But personalising customer communications does not have to stop at email. By providing customers with a personalised experience across all channels you can deliver a consistent journey that sat- isfies their individual needs. 6. Achieve the right blend of data and creativity. The competitive nature of the utilities mar- ket means it is difficult for organisations to set themselves apart. We now live in an era of data-driven creativity, where data is being harnessed to realise the value of a brand, to shape personal relationships and drive more effective communications. Brands that are turning the tide on this approach are unlock- ing innovative ideas that deliver game- changing campaigns. 7. Model advanced attribution across channels at an individual level. While 72 per cent of utilities marketers agree that accurately attributing value across chan- nels is vital to their organisation, only 23 per cent are using advanced attribution models. This means marketers are struggling to understand the return from their invest- ments. While digital platforms have enabled brands to collect more data about customer behaviours, marketers are not joining this data together with their offline data to see the full path to purchase at an individual level. 8. Partner with experts. Data and analytics skills continue to be a missing piece of the puzzle. A skills shortage is oen the biggest barrier to marketing pro- grammes, with 43 per cent of utilities mar- keters citing this as their top challenge. Expert data scientists will not only dis- cover new insights, but they have the ability to make it actionable and meaningful for a specific strategy or campaign. Through data science and customer insight and intelligence, marketers can secure the insight needed to help customers make smart supplier choices. By using data- driven insights to deliver enhanced, person- alised experiences, utilities will then be able to effectively engage customers, and main- tain their market share. The focus on using data to create value for customers before try- ing to extract value from them is the key to winning the data-driven marketing race. Nick Evans, marketing practice director, Jaywing Data-driven marketing Using data-driven marketing, utilities can personalise a commodity offering and strengthen brand loyalty. Nick Evans runs through some top tips on leveraging your data.

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