With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.
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Talitha joined Harnham in 2012 following a degree in Politics and American Studies. Since then, she has progressed to manager level and now leads the UK Marketing and Insight Analytics team. Talitha and her team, recruit for a number of companies, UK wide across customer insight, statistics, CRM and strategy.
With over 10 years experience working solely in the Data & Analytics sector our consultants are able to offer detailed insights into the industry.
Visit our Blogs & News portal or check out our recent posts below.
This is Harnham’s weekly news digest, the place to come for a quick breakdown of the week’s top news stories from the world of data and analytics. Analytics India Magazine: Top 8 AI-Powered Features Released By Adobe In 2020 Adobe turned 30 years old in 2020, and to celebrate its birthday, launched an array of features and software updates that use AI technologies to support performance improvements and better workflows. In this piece from Analytics India Magazine, they explore a few of the new features: Neural FiltersSky ReplacementDiscover PanelRefine Edge Selections It’s incredibly exciting to see how the developers and engineers at Adobe have reimagined filters, explored image manipulation and used cutting-edge algorithms to enhance the range and quality of tools in its Photoshop application. There’s a lot of great new functions available in Adobe software this year. Driven by the power of artificial intelligence technology, this demonstrates how exciting and limitless opportunities are in development and engineering. Read the full article here. insideBIGDATA: Factoring the User Into Supply Chain Data Presentation In this feature with insideBIGDATA, Jono Marcus, Behavioural Insights Director and Digital Project Owner for AtSource.io, Olam’s sustainability insights platform, at Olam International Ltd., explores how behavioural science can make complex Data meaningful and useful. One of the key discussion points here was in recognising that Data specialists need to find interesting, unique ways for consumers to experience datasets across different user interactions. It is an exciting challenge that many developers and engineers come across, and can also be applied specifically, in this case, to behavioural science findings. There is a critical role to be played here. Data Scientists need to ensure that data results are presented as either reassuring or concerning, within the context of the study. This is to ensure the Data experience is respected and has authority and meaning. Read the full article here. ZDNet: Cloud providers compute a greener future This year has been unlike any other. When looking at our environmental responsibilities, in 2020 we have actually seen a record emission drop. The pandemic has driven this news, highlighting a drop of around seven per cent. Of course, this is great news, but more must be done. The tech industry has a big role to play in supporting the world’s ambition to drastically reduce carbon emissions and hit global climate targets. Last year, Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge, which aims to achieve net-zero carbon across its businesses by 2040. This pledge has attracted the attention of over 30 signatories, including Microsoft. This move aligns the two biggest cloud computing providers at a time when cloud demand has skyrocketed and will only continue to grow. Microsoft’s Chief Environmental Officer, Lucas Joppa, explained the significance of the tech community coming together to act on the climate crisis; “No one company or organization can meaningfully address the climate crisis on their own. It will take aggressive approaches, new innovative technologies and strong commitment to collaboration across industries and economic sectors”. Read more on The Climate Pledge and the tech response here. Tech Republic: Predictive analytics: 3 best practices for implementation of this helpful technology No matter your field, Predictive Analytics can help your business improve processes and make more money. But one of the main reasons that it isn’t applied across the whole Data & Analytics space is that developing these models takes time and resources, especially with a lack of commercial solutions available and ready to go. Companies can benefit from using Predictive Analysis in areas such as operations management, customer relationship management and fraud detection too. In order to bring predictive analytics on board, these are the core considerations outlined by Tech Republic: Decide how accurate your predictive analytics need to be• Decide how much risk you can assumePlan for disruption, and continue to refine your predictive analytics models As organisations come to re-think and upgrade their software and data services, factoring in the power of predictive analytics is a strong steppingstone for the future. Click here to read more on the uses of Predictive Analytics. The Data & Analytics market full of exciting and dynamic opportunities. To learn more about our work in this space, get in touch with us at email@example.com.
18. December 2020
For the latest episode of The Dialogue, Associate Director Talitha Boitel-Gill sat down with Alistair Dickinson from Location Intelligence platform Mapsimise about their platform, CRM in general, and how to get Data Vis to work for you. Here's what we learnt: - Location marketing provides the ability to understand customer Data in much more detail by breaking things down by region and area. - By taking this approach, businesses are able to tailor their marketing in a much more specific way. - Particularly with local lockdown restrictions in place across the UK, this allows businesses to better plan their local strategies. - The way Analytics has evolved has meant that Data Vis skills are more important than ever. - Is is essential that those working in this space are able to create Data Visualisations that allow them to explain findings to non-technical stakeholders in a clear way. - In particular, the ability to overlay different types of Data can allow a broader understanding of the market. - CRM systems need to be implemented properly, with good Data, in order to be valuable. Only about 10-15% of businesses do this. - Businesses need to understand their customers now more than ever, and a strong CRM is a great foundation for this. - Because the Location Intelligence space is set to grow rapidly, businesses will be looking for more and more insight from specialists in this field. - There is lots of great Open Source Data available for free. Geoawesomeness provide lots of learning and free materials. The UK Government's Geospatial Commission also provides access to lots of free public Data. - Those looking to get in to this area don't necessarily need a STEM degree, just a passion for Data and the motivation to upskill in their spare time. - And much, much more. You can watch the full conversation below. If you're looking for a new opportunity, take a look at our latest roles or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.
01. October 2020
We recently spoke to Catherine Allan, an Associate Director of CRM at Babylon health, a Digital healthcare service with a mission to put accessible and affordable health service into the hands of everyone. After starting her career in journalism, Allan moved into Marketing, a seemingly natural transition given her copywriting experience. Given the transformation in technology and the use of Data within Marketing, she has seen the significant impact that it has had within the space. Reflecting on what attracted her into CRM Marketing in the first place, she explains, “It’s that ability to really get to know the audience, what they look like. You have a very defined group of people that you can look at exactly how they are responding – you can get to know their likes, dislikes and respond to them in ways that you can engage them more. You can keep them working with or using your product or organisation”. Initially working for Ten Lifestyle Group, her clients varied from travel businesses to large financial brands. Like many at the time, they had their traditional methods but, as would soon become a trend within the industry, they started to change things up. Allan expands, “We started experimenting with CRM with the members of our concierge to see if we could. How much better would those people respond to tailored communication over those who received a newsletter of generic stuff?”. Enter the use of Data to tailor CRM offerings. Their first application was to their travel clients, “If we knew someone had a skiing holiday versus a holiday in September one year, we would follow up the following year. Isn’t it time to pick a holiday?”. It seems natural now, but it signified that shift from the mass-communication to segmented customer profiles. As Marketing teams became more Data-driven, however, customers had to get used to that change of communication. Allan remembers the shift well, “When I first started in CRM, it wasn’t personalised at all but I started to see that people got more used to you knowing their Data and using it. It became less freaky to show that you knew something about them. At the beginning, we were having to be careful about how much we evidenced that we knew, you couldn’t really say I know you’ve had a Ski Holiday. But over the course of the years people have started to expect that, almost like it would be weird if marketeers didn’t know that. The culture towards that use of Data and personalisation has changed”. However, she explains, there is a limit, “With what people are expecting from your CRM, there is a scaling to how you present stuff. You don’t want to be creepy, you don’t want to overstep it by knowing too much”. Now, moving into the health-tech space at Babylon, her work revolves around the products that they have on the market. Everything from applications that allow you to log your mood and sync your wearable tech, through to a health check function where you’re given a digital twin of your body. The use of Data within these products is, of course, on another level. The products produce Data-driven recommendations that are very specific to each users. She explains, “obviously in the Marketing team we don’t have access to people’s health records or any health information which they input into the app. So it’s about finding the right cadence to actually engage people with the product, as well as personalising using the Data we can see, such as demographics. Men and women have different health concerns and they differ for younger and older age groups.” Moving into the health space has opened up a different way of engaging with customers. Allan and her team were able to use their Data and produce newsletters that actually engaged their audience on a wider basis. She expands, “We found great success in sending regular newsletters just about health in general, people love to know how they compare to other people and they also want to know to be empowered to manage their own health”. Naturally, a company like Babylon feel the pressures of a global pandemic in what their customers expect from them to say and do. This is exactly what Allan’s team are now focused on. “When the pandemic came to the UK, as a healthcare company the first thought for the Marketing team was how can we support our members? What can we offer which is unique to Babylon which will add value. The answer we came to was offering information, guides and videos verified by doctors to counteract all those false stories out there about COVID-19”. Despite the technology to innovate, with things like interactive emails and unique content, there was still a need to strip things back. As Allan explains, “people are anxious, they are worried, they just want the right information, you’ve already got their attention”. Her team was responsible for launching this new product to members and developing lifestyle communications, whilst also keeping the members engaged and updated. Naturally, the communication during the pandemic shifted, “We upped our newsletter frequency from twice a month to twice a week for the first three weeks of lockdown, then down to once a week, a cadence which we are still maintaining with no drop off in interest” What were the results of these changes? “Our open rates went up, our click through rates went up and our unsubscribes reduced, although they were very low to start with) We reduced sends to once a week when we felt that there was less to say, which I think was better than continuing to send more and becoming boring. Our results over the last 6 weeks have been off the charts averaging a 34% open rate across the whole base of subscribers vs the 24% we were averaging before.” It’s clear that regardless of industry, from lifestyle to healthcare, the world of CRM has progressed. The information that we gather on customers is evolving, as is the way that we can speak to those customers too. One thing is clear however, from Allan’s experience, especially in the current circumstances, nothing takes away from a clear message. If you’re looking for your next CRM role or to build out your team, Harnham may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to find out more.
04. June 2020
We recently had the opportunity to talk to Rachel Stuve, one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Data Science & Analytics, and a leading Director of Data teams. An expert in her field, Stuve has a wide breadth of experience. Having attended college in automotive-heavy Michigan, her first role was analysing the auto-industry at Chrysler. Shortly after she moved into local government, digitising and integrating their law enforcement processes before working on a state-wide Data-sharing initiative. Most recently, however, Stuve has been focusing her efforts in Healthcare. While it might seem to many as a highly-specialised, inaccessible industry, Stuve disagrees. “It’s all about transferable skills,” she says. “You may be looking at different sets of Data with a healthcare provider but, essentially, the analysis follows the same principles”. Despite this, Stuve does admit that there are some hurdles to overcome, particularly when it comes to terminology. “Admittedly the jargon does take some getting used to, and there is a lot of it.” But the main differences are less scientific and more to do with infrastructure. Unlike like many Data-led industries, Health Insurers do not deliver directly to consumers. In fact, their main relationship is with Healthcare Providers. “It’s not the same as getting a mortgage, you don’t approach your insurer to be provided with care. Your direct service is with the Healthcare provider, the hospital, or whoever, and it’s the insurer’s job to cover the payments. Part of the challenge is working out which providers offer the best value for money and, also, which ones offer quality care”. This means managing a team comprised of both Data Scientists and Epidemiologist, specialists who can better identify which treatments provide the most success, at the lowest cost. So, how can you get a team with different backgrounds and approaches to work in harmony with one another? “So much of a project’s success relies on agreeing to the right goals at the start. If you can get everyone to agree on what success looks like, be it a 10, 20% profit increase or whatever, you know you’re all working towards the same thing. Sure, you may have some debate around statistical conversations, but ultimately you’re all pulling in the same direction. "Stuve also stresses the importance of including the right people at the right stage of each project. Too often end-users are not included in the early stages of Data projects, leading to huge gaps in knowledge. Stuve notes: “If those who have true knowledge of what they need from a project are left out of the initial scoping, things will almost certainly be missed” In addition to her work in Healthcare, Stuve also invests in female-led start-ups with her work at Golden Seeds, something that is close to her heart. “I love Golden Seeds. There have been numerous studies that show that female-run businesses produce higher returns, and yet they only receive a fraction of the investment that male-led businesses do.” She points to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review as to why this may be. According to the article, there is an inherent gender bias in the investment process where male entrepreneurs are asked about the potential of their businesses. Female entrepreneurs, on the other hand, were more likely to be asked purely risk-mitigating questions. “People invest in optimism, so if you aren’t allowing an entrepreneur to sell you the dream, you’re far less likely to invest in them”. Stuve also believes that there’s a perception that female-led businesses are less likely to be innovative: “I want to change the idea that these businesses are, for want of a better word, ‘girly’ and purely focused on clothes, food and retail. This is not the case from what I’ve seen, and women are at the forefront of all sorts of industries from biotech, to energy, to any number of specialisms”. So, what does she look for when investing? “Sure I’m looking for an innovative idea that fulfils a business need, but I’m also looking to invest in the person. Are they realistic? Are they are strong leader? Do they know their own weaknesses and have they built up a team around them who can pick up where they’re not as strong?” “There’s also, unfortunately, a double-standard when it comes to the perception of male and female leaders. This means how they carry themselves makes a big difference, particularly if they’re looking for further investment in the future.” Stuve is well aware of the difficulties women face in male-dominated industries, having found herself as the sole female in many of her teams, increasingly so as she progressed into management. Fortunately, she sees light at the end of the tunnel: “Companies are beginning to see the value in broadening the diversity of their teams and there’s definitely been a shift in the corporate conversation around this.” “Also, if you look for it, there is a fantastic network of women in Data out there. Reaching out tends to have this snowballing effect as well. You connect with one person, who introduces you to another, who introduces you to another, and soon you discover this amazing community of exceptional women”. If you’d like to hear more from Rachel, you can follow her LinkedIn for regular updates and ideas. For more information on the current states of Diversity in Data & Analytics, you can download our report on the subject here. If you’re looking to build out your team or for a new opportunity, you can get in touch with one of our expert consultants or view our latest opportunities here.
25. March 2020
Make no mistake: making minor adjustments to an ad or campaign that’s meant to appeal to the masses just won’t cut it. Customers crave creativity. They want to be understood. Which is why people respond best to brands that do their homework, doing their research into what appeals to different groups. How should businesses appeal to their chosen segments, then, considering how diverse people are? Data, of course. Why Data? For one thing, it drives results and creates improved outcomes. Data also helps to prove the value of marketing, providing a bargaining chip for future budget discussions. And, most rewarding of all, brands get valuable insights into their target market. Which, in turn, leads to more well-targeted, profitable campaigns. And if you think Data doesn’t belong in the world of creative campaigns, think again. As OpenJaw Technologies Chief Marketing Officer Colin Lewis argues: “Creativity is not just compatible with being Data-driven – Data can drive better creative.” Psychological profiling Strategic communications consultancy, Verbalisation, researches and analyses language to form valuable insights. Using its Rapid Audience Insights Diagnostic system, the company’s team of psychologists and researchers work out how an audience thinks. They also learn the actual words an audience uses, which they then use as the basis of a marketing strategy. Based on their unique research and insights, Verbalisation has created several successful campaigns for high-profile brands. These include the #NotAnotherBrother campaign for counter-terrorism organisation Quilliam, which looked at the motivations of jihadists. The campaign is now used by the UN and schools across the UK, as well as the US Department of Defense. It is the most viewed counter-extremism campaign of all time, with more than half a billion global media impressions. Location, location, location Out-of-home (OOH) advertising. Yes, it goes way back, but it’s actually the only traditional advertising channel posting rapid growth. In fact, thanks to mobile-location Data, brands can target audiences quicker and with a greater chance of success than ever before. Great news for JCDecaux (JCD), a leading OOH company with ads reaching 410 million people in over 4,000 cities. JCD now works with location Data to define and segment audiences. Doing so helps it decide where to place media, improve campaigns and measure resulting store footfall and purchases. Knowledge, so they say, is power. Particularly when that involves knowing the whereabouts of the most coveted customers. Newly teamed up with identity resolution company, Neustar, JCD’s insights look stronger than ever. JCD can now understand which of its locations rank higher for any brand’s most desired audiences. All thanks to location Data and real-time behaviour analysis. Personalised employee training Data doesn’t just boost the results of B2C brands; it can also be a vital shot in the arm for internal security training campaigns. Training provider, CybeReady, for instance, uses a Data science-driven approach to deliver cyber awareness training with a difference: its anti-phishing platform helps security teams quickly roll out and tailor campaigns to individual employees. In big companies, getting employees up to speed is especially challenging. With many locations, languages and time zones to contend with, Information Security teams have their work cut out. CybeReady eliminates these challenges by delivering 12 personalised, 60-second simulations to each employee. In their first language, every year. What’s more, the training provider uses machine learning to analyse performance on a daily basis. This enables it to provide the most appropriate simulations to each individual. The result? IT teams save 160 hours each month and employee resilience increases five-fold. There’s no limit to what Data can do. If you’re a fan, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with our expert consultants.
05. June 2019
The 2019 Harnham Salary Guides are nearly here. Last night saw a hundred of Data & Analytics' top professionals gather to get their hands on an advanced copy and hear from some of the best in the industry. With talks from Tom Spencer (Aviva), Mark Ainsworth (Schroders), and Anna Decoudu (118 118 Money), attendees were treated to insights into some of the world's best Data teams. A huge thank you to everyone who came along, we hope you found the evening as enlightening as we did. Our UK, US and European Salary Guides will all launch online mid-June. To be one of the first to get your hands on a copy, sign up to our mailing list here.
16. May 2019
As a recruiter I’ve had some great relationships with candidates over the years. I view these relationships like partnerships and an ideal partnership is one where communication is natural and transparent. Some partnerships have worked better than others, and I’ve seen some common denominators in the ones that work (and the ones that don’t). Let me preface this with one thing: We want to help you get the job. However, we are working with specific guidelines and role requirements. Sometimes that means we have to give feedback to you and let you know that you’re not qualified or you’re not exactly what our client is looking for. When I give this kind of feedback it is because we are trying to help you streamline your efforts towards processes that you will nail, and ultimately get you a job that you’re happy with. If you’re looking for your next job and would like to collaborate with a recruiter, my biggest tip would be that in order to get the most out of you recruiter you should: BE HONEST About your salary expectations Salary can be a taboo subject. As your recruiter we need to know what salary you would be happy with because our clients have a budget that they need to stick to. By being open about what your current earnings are, and what you’d like to earn in your next role, we can make sure you don’t get an offer which is ultimately too low for you. Be 100% honest about your ambitions and current levels, and we will advocate for you all the way. About your current role and responsibilities When we chat, I’ll often ask a lot of questions and try to get a lot of detail. Speaking to a recruiter can feel like an interview, but we’re not trying to trip you up. We’re trying to find out what you’re doing right now – all of it. Not because your next job is going to be the same, but because we need to find out how transferrable what you’re doing right now is to our client and if you’re able to take on a new set of skills. We also use this conversation to assess your communication skills, and if you’re unable to explain what your current role involves then we can work together on your interviewing technique. About other processes that you’re in Sometimes when I ask candidates about their other processes they feel uncomfortable. If you’re working with another recruiter or if you’ve already applied directly to one of my clients, that’s okay but I need to know so I can: Find out if you have impending offers that my clients should know about. Understand which roles you’ve been targeting and thus which types of businesses you naturally felt inclined to pursue (maybe I have similar roles at similar companies). Help you with time management and ensure you can prepare accordingly. Avoid accidentally meddling in an existing process that you’re already in through a speculative conversation. About reasons you’re looking for opportunities Tell your recruiter why you’re on the market, so that we can make sure you’re not on the market again for the same reason in six months. That means you need to be honest about why you’re leaving! How else can I make sure that we’re alleviating your current frustrations? For example: Hate your manager? That’s too bad! What management style would you prefer? Do you want to learn a new skill? Let me find out which of my clients can help you. Looking for a more senior role? Which responsibilities would you like to have Passionate about getting into driverless cars? I won’t tell you about my retail roles! Just curious? Absolutely fine – but that means we need to discuss the root of your curiosity in more detail so that we don’t talk about every job from here to the moon. The list goes on but the more detail I have, the more efficient I can be in selecting the right role based on your motivations. About your interview experience I’m not looking for one-liners when I ask about your most recent interview. I want to know how you're feeling, what you learnt, and more. Did the interview leave something to be desired? OK, how can I help you get your hands on it? If you already know you don’t want this job, that’s absolutely fine. But it would be great to know why so we can avoid similar situations. Maybe you feel like you underwhelmed the interviewer and that you should have answered something differently? I can be your messenger after the fact, so you have another chance to get your message across. Ultimately, recruiters are here to support you through a stressful process. We want to make your search easier by being your agent. To make sure we are able to represent you to the best of our ability, we need a great candidate/recruiter relationship, a relationship that is honest and transparent. As I mentioned at earlier, ultimately, we just want you to find the right role for you. If you’re looking for a role and would like to partner with a recruiter, take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch.
16. January 2019
A Royal Wedding. World Cup 2018. Wimbledon. The last few months have seen a whirlwind of activity in the UK. A few years ago, who would have predicted a royal wedding to an American actress? Or the upset at Wimbledon in both the women’s and the men’s finals? And, of course, who could forget England’s unprecedented run or France’s leap to World Cup victory with their 4-2 win over Croatia. With such significant shocks at both the World Cup and Wimbledon signal, we have to ask ourselves; is this a turning of the tide? Federer is still reaching for his 21st Grand Slam title. Serena Williams reached the Wimbledon finals a few months after having a baby and having suffered a pulled pectoral muscle. Both dynasties on the grass faced opponents breathing fire, hungry for the win. But whilst The Championships led to some unexpected results, it's the World Cup 2018 that really shook the boat.What Data and Predictive Analytics Taught Us We’ve all done it. Making predictions based on historical data, the always was, and the dynasties of a well-oiled machine, is our best way of guessing how our favourite competitions will work out. We think ‘if Team A has played this way, that way, or won year-on-year’ then surely, it will be that way again. But sometimes, as Steve Lohr points out:“Listening to the data is important … but so is experience and intuition. After all, what is intuition at its best but large amounts of data of all kinds filtered through a human brain rather than a math model?” Perhaps one of the reasons for this year’s lack of predictability has been that the best performances have come from unexpected sources. Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar Jr. all under performed in Russia, leaving room for Croatia’s golden generation to shine and France’s youthful side to make their mark. This explanation is supported by FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup Doppelganger tool, which offers a look at the statistical footprint of every player since 1966. From this, we can see that the breakout performances of 2018 were from teams that, with the exception of France, you may not have expected at the beginning of the tournament; Belgium, England, Mexico, and Switzerland:Kylian Mbappé, France, 19 Romelu Lukaku, Belgium, 25 Kieran Trippier, England, 27 Hirving Lozano, Mexico, 22 Xherdan Shaqiri, Switzerland, 26 Kylian Mbappe, at 19, is the youngest and the first teenager to score in a World Cup since Pele in 1958. With further breakout performances from players such as Russia’s Aleksandr Golovin makes it clear there’s room to grow, giving new life to recruitment trends. Even in football, diversity is key. The Best is Yet to Come Like this year’s Wimbledon upsets, the 2018 World Cup suggests that there are new dynasties in the making. Though France has just claimed their second ever World Cup trophy, this is only the beginning for their current squad. According to TransferMarkt.com, of France’s top 13 players, only two are older than 25 and, at 19, star player Kylian Mbappe is the first teenager to score at a World Cup since Pele in 1958. The future is looking bright for Les Bleus. Looking Beyond the Obvious Whilst we often use predictive analytics in sports, sometimes we need someone who can see beyond the obvious trends and analyse what unexpected events may occur. If you’re interested in analytics and ready to take the world by storm, we may have a role for you. We specialise in Junior and Senior roles. To lean more, check out our current vacancies, call our UK team on +44 20 8408 6070, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
01. August 2018
Real-time pricing: coming to a store near you.Personal shopping is on the brink of taking on a whole new meaning. The advancement of mobile technology and the information held on individuals' shopping histories means product prices could soon adapt as shoppers walk up and down their supermarket aisle.Gone are the days of retailers only being able to actively manage the price of a small number of products once a week. Algorithmic pricing and real-time competitive pricing data allows the changing of product prices on the fly.Amazon is at the forefront of such "real-time pricing" initiatives, which have traditionally been the preserve of online-only retailers.However, brick-and-mortar retailers in the US are showing their UK counterparts the limitless possibilities when it comes to dynamic pricing.Independent consumer electronics retailer Abt Electronics pipes competitive pricing data gathered by Dynamite Data into its point-of-sale systems to allow staff to negotiate prices at the point-of-sale, according to Dynamite Data chief executive Diana Schulz.Meanwhile, another one of Dynamite Data’s unnamed clients uses electronic shelf labels and re-prices every product in their stores each morning based on the prices of its rivals.The ability to change prices dynamically is not simply the preserve of all-powerful brands such as Walmart or Target either.Schulz explained that her company has "seen these types of technologies in both large and mid-sized retailers" despite the "investment in technology and competitive data that is typically needed".Commercial sensitivitiesBack in the UK things are not quite as close to a Minority Report-style personalized shopping experience.Even online-only specialists Shop Direct and Ocado claim they do not engage in real-time pricing, while those that do heavily use real-time data to adapt their prices such as the airline brands are reluctant to discuss the issues.EasyJet declined to comment when contacted because of commercial sensitivities around discussing pricing-related issues.Grocers Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s have all claimed they do not engage in real-time pricing, with the latter two both citing the logistical difficulties in aligning such a strategy across their physical stores and online presence.A Sainsbury’s spokesman claims real-time pricing would result in "chaos", while an Asda spokeswoman saying such a strategy would be a "nightmare".Yet, despite such a negative perspective from UK brands, experts are confident real-time pricing will arrive on these shores sooner or later.Simon Spyer, a partner of VCCP data arm Conduit who began his career working on the Sainsbury's Nectar business, believes the UK will begin to see "more and more" of matching rivals’ prices dynamically, particularly in the grocery and electrical sectors.He explained that real-time pricing is likely to affect "anything where the product is largely commoditized" and in instances where the only way retailers can differentiate that product is by "being really keen on price".Electronic labelsAs it stands the major barrier for implementing "real-time pricing" in-store is changing the prices to match the online price, a hurdle that could be removed by the electronic shelf labels being pioneered in the US.Schemes like Tesco Price Promise and Asda Price Guarantee already use real-time data to 'price match'In the UK various retailers have dipped their toes into the water when it comes to electronic shelf-labeling including a Nisa Local store in Shrewsbury that launched a trial in August last year to carry out automatic pricing and timed promotional updates, alongside QR codes and meal deals.Tesco has also experimented with electronic labeling on various occasions with trials in 2006 and 2008, but the retail giant has yet to combine real-time pricing with its electronic labels.Spyer claims "the capability is definitely there both online and offline – it is whether there is a business rationale for investing in it".However, with major UK supermarkets lacking a pressing reason to implement real-time pricing, that investment may be slow in arriving, argues Kaye Coleman, the founder of price consultancy Ripe Strategic.Coleman explains: "The supermarkets already do price matching – it is not so sophisticated but price matching is already happening".Schemes including the Tesco Price Promise, the Asda Price Guarantee and the Sainsbury’s Brand Match currently use real-time data to "price match" by offering money off the next shop.A cynic could argue the supermarkets should knock money off at the till rather than relying on customers to redeem their vouchers at the next shop, but such an action could hit the companies' bottom line.Mobile sophisticationThe growing sophistication of mobile marketing is also likely to revolutionize the way brands approach their price matching."If you can come up with a value proposition where I check-in [on my mobile] when I walk through the store for the first time and that presents me with a personalized experience based on my purchase history then I could see the benefit for a customer and a retailer," said Spyer.The trick for retailers is persuading customers to adopt such behavior, but the offer of being delivered ever-changing personalized price offers and messages in-store is a compelling proposition.Personalization is already a priority for retailers. Sainsbury’s uses anonymized shopping data gathered from the Nectar card to personalize offers.The levels of personalization offered by Sainsbury’s are increasingly complex. If a female customer buys folic acid they will be sent promotions on other pregnancy-related supplements during the pregnancy period and offers on nappies further down the line.UK retailers are sure to keep a close eye on developments over the Atlantic, with Schulz claiming she knows of clients that are piloting technologies that enable in-store personalized discounts.The challenges on the high-street mean there will inevitably be more casualties, but real-time pricing does not have to be the sole preserve of online-only retailers.Innovative ways of manipulating real-time data could be the shot in the arm the high-street retail industry so desperately needs.This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.ukClick here for the article on the web.
21. January 2015
Dom Joly, the comedian, has created two rival characters, Bjorn and Brian, who will lead a social media campaign for Save the Children around its Christmas Jumper Day event on 13 December. Save The Children launched Christmas Jumper Day last year to raise money and awareness for its charity work with children around the world. Joly appears in two videos on Save The Children’s YouTube channel. In one he is in character as Bjorn, who loves understated classic Nordic knits, while in the other he plays Brian, who favors kitsch bright "wacky" jumpers. Users will encouraged to take part in a Twitter battle from today to determine the most popular style of jumper, by taking a picture of their own Christmas jumper and tweeting with #xmasjumperday and the hashtag either #Nordic or #Wacky. The winning team will be the one that creates the most activity around its hashtag. All creative for the social media campaign has been managed in-house. Mark Weber, the head of digital analytics at Save the Children, said: "Last year we were overwhelmed with the response we had to the launch of our Christmas Jumper Day campaign – with thousands of people up and down the country donning their festive finest to raise money for us. "This year we wanted to create the opportunity for even more people to show their support and join in to help Save The Children, so with the help of Dom Joly we created 'Battle of the Jumpers', a light-hearted rivalry between two jumper styles – with the aim to make sure the whole nation gets into jumpers." A Facebook app called the Battle of the Jumpers Sweater Detector will launch in the next few weeks. It will analyze people’s Facebook timelines to tell them which jumper style they are best suited to. Click here for the article on the web.
02. December 2013