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Three Key Insights from Volvo Cars on Data Transparency

Dennis Blynov | 06.29.2020

This post was authored by Dennis Blynov, Business & Marketing Transformation Lead EMEA, Volvo Cars

No matter the climate, whether marketers are facing a period of uncertain changes and volatility or business as usual circumstances, anchoring your marketing in an effective measurement strategy is the key. But to create the foundation for your measurement strategy, you first need data transparency.

What does “data transparency” really mean? According to PCMag, it covers two key areas:

  1. The ability to easily access and work with data no matter the source.
  2. The assurance that data being reported is accurate and coming from the official source.

Why is this important? In programmatic ad buying for example, the process lacks transparency and there’s a general risk of waste. In a way, it resembles the uncertainty of the stock exchange: you’re putting money toward something and you’re not 100% certain what the ROI will look like. In addition, without complete transparency into all of your marketing activities, it’s hard to understand which campaigns and channels are working, and which are not.

When I started at Volvo Cars in 2019, there was already a data transparency project underway. This was essential. At Volvo Cars, we are laser-focused on being efficient and effective with every dollar spent. Now, with changing landscapes and budgets in flux, all marketing teams should have this same focus.

Here are three key insights around data transparency and how it has impacted our data-driven decision making and made our measurement process more effective:

1. Data transparency helps identify hidden costs

Around the time I joined Volvo Cars, the company was working on an overall data transparency project, and had recently performed a media audit for six different markets in partnership with a consulting partner called Curamando.
We audited our media spend and evaluated what was working, where the gaps were, and whether there was any money being wasted. It became clear that we didn’t have a transparent view of all the fees in the media buying process, and that there was room for improvement.

Our team had identified the need for a platform that would combine our cost data, and had started working with a startup to build that platform when I arrived. It was clear to me that the platform being built was not going to meet all our needs, so I recommended that we use Datorama to unify our data across a single system of record.

2. Unifying data is needed to increase efficiency

Before Datorama, all of our data lived in separate spreadsheets across multiple external agencies. We lacked a unified view — in meetings we’d have stakeholders who wanted to see data from past weeks or from other channels, and since our reports were prepared in advance of meetings, the data was impossible to find quickly.

We estimated that our agency’s channel teams spent more than 60% of their time creating these manual reports– a complete waste of their skills and time.

Datorama brings all of our data — from Google, Facebook, and every other channel — together into one place for full transparency. It takes our teams less than half an hour to harmonize a new data source and get immediate speed to insight. With our data unified across a single system of record, we were able to become more efficient and enable our analysts to spend 100% of their time on actual data analysis.

3. Aligning your data means aligning with your partners

With our digital channels connected and unified, we decided we wanted to add offline data too. Offline advertising typically accounts for more than 50% of our spend — things like TV and radio ads, or spots that play before the trailers in movie theaters.

We used Datorama to unify our offline ad agencies’ spend sources, and we’ve spent the last few months unifying data from digital channels and creating custom dashboards to support all channel teams as well as the Volvo marketing team. In recent weeks, we’ve been training all of these stakeholders on how to work in this new way and access real-time data insights. We’re also helping them learn to collaborate with other channel teams to keep data sets accurate and up to date. With more advanced insights from data, everyone involved can make smarter decisions to impact campaigns at scale.

However, the platform and technology doesn’t do it alone. To get the most out of a marketing intelligence platform like Datorama, you’ve got to be a great partner and work with others to collect, connect, and understand your data. Only then can you access the full power of data and analytics to create true business impact.

To learn more about Datorama, keep up to date with the latest news & announcements and learn more tips & tricks, log into the platform and visit the Datorama Community.

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