Informatica CMO: Big data will change customer relationships in 2015

Marge Breya, CMO at Informatica, talks to Lindsay Stein about the importance of leveraging data correctly and how the brand engages staff.

Marge Breya
Marge Breya

Describe what Informatica does.
We are all things data. When you think about data today, it fuels every business and almost every device and decision around the world. We make sure that you can connect to data all the time and that it’s safe. We also make sure data can be used as fuel for an organization.

Are you trying to engage general consumers more frequently?
I wouldn’t necessarily say general consumers. I would say knowledge workers. These days, it feels simple to get data in your personal life – you can Google anything from your ex-partner to your college roommate, but at work, how do you find all the information you could or should know?

We are creating products that make it increasingly easier to figure out what data you should know and how to prepare it so you can make decisions.

What brands do you admire for the innovative ways they are using data to connect with audiences?
The innovators are not always in the high growth or flashy industries. They are typically the people who need to find a point of differentiation where a commodity previously existed. I admire companies that are using data to change the behavior of customers and prospects.

Kaiser Permanente is one of these companies. It was one of the pioneers in electronic health records. The brand has used big and small data to not only improve its services, but also to put its patients at the center of improving their odds in life and decision-making processes as regards wellness.

Another company is Amazon. In the last decade we marveled over the increase in online shopping and the notion of a recommendation engine. Today we have aggregated offerings from many different retailers and same-day delivery, including fresh foods.

Amazon’s big data is shaping personalized offers and reimagining supply chain logistics to contemplate advanced forecasting for perishable goods.

What is the biggest mistake brands make when using data?
Starting with any old data. Whether that data is small or big, bad data means terrible results. Great data is the first step toward results. And this type of data does not happen by accident, it occurs by design. It is the result of connecting, cleansing, and securing it, so the right data gets to the correct person or process at the right time.

It means that marketing organizations need to have a strong relationship with their IT brethren and that we need to invest in the right tools, processes, and people, such as data scientists, to get there.

Fast forward 15 years. What do you see data being able to achieve for the brand-customer relationship?
Most companies today use data from an analytical standpoint. They use it for decisioning and process improvement. In the next few years, most companies will be using data in a predictive fashion by using past behavior and mathematical modeling to predict behavior outcomes and decisions.

In the future, data will be used to anticipate our needs. Transportation, for example, will be completely changed. In metro areas, it’s possible that no one will own a vehicle. Autonomous car fleets will be prevalent, offering not just transportation, but safe and shared transportation as a service.

How do you leverage social media?
We use social media to promote thought-leadership content about data integration and governance. We also promote blog posts, webinars, live events, eBooks, and analyst research. The latter tends to have the largest average number of clicks and shares.

But we’ve also seen huge success with our commissioned books. This past October, our Salesforce Integration for Dummies title was a big success. A LinkedIn promotion of this asset led to a 39% conversion rate. This is the type of social promotion that drives demand generation activity.

In the last year, we have quintupled our investment in social. Now we have a global program. We’re using a social platform to not only measure, but also amplify our voice throughout the company and the community. It’s an important investment for us.

What platform did you invest in?
GaggleAMP as it’s an easy way to get folks, who might otherwise be reticent, to be social and work with the whole company in amplifying the message.

Social is a local effort. People are social in their native language, so what we needed to have is a platform that brings everybody together around our ecosystem, yet allows them to speak in their native language to their neighbors. To date, 147 employees signed up for it.

The program enables our corporate social media team to prepare posts for staff consideration. The participants are now sharing more than 20 posts each per week and driving 5,000 weekly clicks back to Informatica corporate content assets.

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