3 Key Takeaways From I-COM

Thomas Walle shares his main takeaways from I-COM, the global forum for marketing, data and measurement companies

April 22, 2016

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Where do you find the smartest and most creative people in the world within marketing, data and measurement? In beautiful Seville, Spain, as they were all at the annual I-COM Global Summit this week.

I-COM is a global forum for marketing, data and measurement companies with a core focus on helping each other to be better to use, understand and execute on data. Unacast was for the second year in a row one of the finalists in the I-COM Data Venture Challenge, a rare opportunity for start-ups to be discovered by an impressive list of clients and companies propelling them to the next level of development.

In tough competition with several other great companies, we were thrilled to be awarded the most prestigious prize as the Overall Winner of the I-COM Data Venture Challenge.

Besides bringing home the award, we also brought back three relevant industry topics that were frequently discussed at the stage, during smaller talks and in the evenings.

1. Start with your own data

Data can be bought in all types and varieties. The “data menu” many companies offer is extensive and data is packaged in multiple ways making it hard for advertisers to fully understand what they are buying. Depending on if you want to experiment with a “data starter”, go all in for the full “data entree” or top up your marketing efforts with a “data dessert”, the menus out there has it all.

However, before looking at the menus and what data others can offer you, it is vital to first start to look at your own data - data about your own customers. This could either be customers who have previously bought your products (transaction data), visited your website (online data) or visited your store (beacon/proximity data).

2. Ask the questions - don't settle for low-quality data

If you already excel at leveraging your first party data, browsing the different “data menus” companies offer is a natural next step. And just like you prefer the chef at the restaurant to use high-quality ingredients and products, you also want to make sure the data you buy has the highest level of quality. You want to have a terrific gastronomic experience and you want your marketing campaigns to deliver. Unfortunately, advertisers don't always ask the right questions about how the data has been collected or packaged. They don't ensure they actually get what they buy. This is especially the case around location data, where majority of the signals for sale are not accurate enough. At Unacast, we work hard to solve this challenge for marketers to offer them the highest quality and most accurate location data - proximity and beacon data.

3. Scale by aggregating and normalizing data

Another topic frequently discussed during the tapas evenings was how to reach scale within different data sets. With multiple companies collecting data it's natural that they compete towards each other. A better approach is to look at ways similar data sets can be normalized and standardized for the greater good and to reach scale to make the data actionable among advertisers. Advertisers are looking for ways to understand their consumers from a more holistic perspective, something that requires aggregation of multiple data sources to get the full picture. This would be your typical food court when relating this to my food analogies in point one and two.

The beacon/proximity space is a good example of a fragmented industry where the data only can be actionable when aggregated and normalized. It´s a huge and challenging job, but we've already started the process with our 50 proximity partners and 1,4 million sensors.

A big thank you to the whole I-COM group for a fantastic week in Seville full of great discussion with other data peers. We look forward to next year!