Every year the DataIQ 100 showcases the individuals making extraordinary strides in the field of data innovation. DataIQ has created the definitive list of power players – the people believed to possess the most influence, profile, experience and knowledge to drive the vibrant data-driven marketing industry.
They are the people who, with the explosion of data sources in recent years, know how to get to the data that counts – to move along that continuum of best practice data capture, to intelligence and finally, to profitable actions.
As part of their programme, DataIQ interviewed Paul, which you can read below of by clicking here: http://buff.ly/2mjWnp0
Path to power
I kicked off my career in advertising. While at Leo Burnett, a CD I produced as part of a campaign for Heineken - “The world’s best beer songs” - went triple platinum. This creative actually resulted in me winning a Global Media Award and helped springboard a quick career progression in the advertising sector.
It was in this industry that I became very aware of the lack of quality data available and the limitations on how it could be interpreted. At one point, I found myself confronted with making a £27 million decision based on three responses to a survey and knew there had to be a better way.
Keen to explore options independently, I set up my own company in data analysis and media, M101. At the same time a friend went to customer insight company, dunhumby, and was asked to set up media services for Tesco. He hadn’t the foggiest idea about media, so they brought me in to consult, and I ended up staying there for three years, latterly heading up the consumer markets business globally.
The appeal of running my own business was still great, though, so I left in 2007 to set up Beyond Analysis.
What was your data highlight of 2016?
Hands down, the most satisfying data highlight for me has to be installing our Quick and Easy product with one of our clients, a well-known furniture retailer. It was really gratifying to see a company starting to use the product well and clearly benefiting from it.
What do you expect 2017 to be like for the data and analytics industry?
Big data hype is beginning to settle and I predict 2017 will be the year that the industry stops focusing on gathering data in huge volumes and looks to make better use of the data held already by businesses, drilling deeper into what they already have to gain greater insight into their consumers. The mentality will be “make-do and mend”, instead of “gather and spend”.
Moving away from data analysis to offering meaningful, results-based insight will be a game changer - “democratising data” where insight is delivered at all levels, from sales assistants to data scientists.
So - why did you choose data?
Data chose me! I did Econometrics at Leicester University, the same university as Clive Humby - data and what it can do for businesses has fascinated me since. My career in advertising then focused my attention on advertising accountability and the importance of data insight to achieve this. True insight from data and the massive, positive impact it can have on the performance of a business is my passion.
What is the best thing about working in the data industry?
Data tells us everything we could ever know about humans. Nothing is down to guess work, it’s all in the data - we can gather deep insight into consumer behaviour, which I find fascinating. Being able to see the tangible impact that true data insight can have on a business.
If you were granted one wish to change something about the data industry, what would it be?
Companies realising that, when they hire data analysts, they need much more than analysis. They need people that can offer valuable insight from the analysis, moving beyond transactional analysis to behavioural insight. This insight then needs trickle down into every level of the business, so everyone from the sales assistant on the shop floor to the CEO and the C-suite are able to use this information to benefit the business. Helping companies to grow, employees to feel empowered and securing long-term customer loyalty.
And what has been your toughest lesson?
Short cuts don’t exist in this industry. What we do and how we’re able to do it evolves month-by-month and the road to achieving results tends not to follow a straight line, but chicanes regularly, keeping us on our toes and forcing constant innovation.