Data Fluency

Fluency in Marketing Week: ‘data disconnection’ costs brands billions in growth every year

A breakthrough study by M&C Saatchi Fluency has identified £60bn in lost growth since 2016, as brands struggle to build crucial connections with audiences.

Top US and UK brands are losing £14.9bn every year due to a lack of data fluency. The remarkable statistic is published as part of initial findings from a study by M&C Saatchi Fluency titled ‘Chaos to Cognition: How data fluency fuels growth’, which is aimed at better understanding the impact and role of data in how brands grow.

The study of more than 4,000 household brands also reveals ‘data fluent’ brands – those deriving value from data and technology – are winning on the bottom line by creating stronger audience connections and cashing in with sustained growth.

Tim Spencer, CSO of Fluency, admits the gulf between data fluent brands and less connected ones, was wider than expected. “We have been amazed by the findings, and they strengthen our belief that in the modern economy data plays a critical role in driving bottom line growth.”

The brands that are are missing out on this growth, identified in the report as ‘data disconnected’, include some of the largest household names in the US and UK – a source of concern for boards and shareholders alike. UK high street retailers alone were missing out on £470m every year even before the pandemic began.

Skilled data staff needed

So how should brands should respond to the study? Spencer argues: “The world is moving fast, and brands need a plan that places data at the heart of their growth strategy. Marketers need the ability to decode a chaotic world of data and continually weave brands into the complex digital lives of consumers where they can make an impact. Our study suggests this is more pressing and important for marketers and the C-suite than is widely understood.”

The research – which considers digital footprints, revenue and growth histories, employee confidence and competence with data, and branded share of search – is the first of its kind to evaluate ‘data fluency’ for brands.

It further reveals that:

  • Top performing brands are building powerful connections that are generating four times greater purchase intent than less connected brands.
  • A crucial building block for brand growth – presence in the minds of audiences at key purchase moments – is a standout trait of data fluent brands.
  • Some 40,000 data skilled staff are needed, either through retraining or recruitment, to help realise lost growth potential and build stronger connections between brands and audiences.

M&C Saatchi Fluency and its AI partner, share of search specialist MyTelescope, revealed the importance of branded search data as a leading C-suite ‘money metric’ at this year’s Festival of Marketing, pointing to the role it plays in bridging the language divide between CMOs and other C-suite members by determining the impact that communications are having ahead of shifts in market share.

Rodrigo Graviz, CEO of MyTelescope, said: “Share of search is the key money metric; it’s the most important lead indicator for understanding whether brand activity is achieving growth objectives, and our AI is helping our partners and brands to measure this impact effectively.”

Fluency advises that key to building audience connections is the ability to understand the world through data, and help brands intelligently harness fast-evolving culture. To do this, it suggests brands must become more fluent in the use of data to empower its decision makers at all levels.


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