Interview with Thierry Teisseire, General Manager Western Europe at Teradata Applications, on the sidelines of the Teradata Connect 2015 conference, which took place in London on 9-10 June. Here he talks about the way marketing departments approach data, the changes they are going through at the moment and what the issues are in terms of people’s use of mobile apps.

Apps “just aren’t smart enough yet‟

L’Atelier: In his presentation, Teradata co-President Bob Fair gave some striking figures: 87% of all marketers recognise that today data is still underused.

Thierry Teisseire: Looking back in time, when social networks arrived on the scene, each country took its own approach to the phenomenon. However, we can safely say that it has definitely taken major French companies longer to make use of the new channel than firms in the English-speaking world.

Today however we’re seeing a good deal of progress. The pace is hotting up. With big data, many companies are moving from using data in silos to incorporating data throughout all marketing functions.

Is this transition having an impact on the way marketing departments are organised?

Yes, it is. The three key components – IT, marketing and content – are converging. Every company will have its own approach to how this is done but we’re now seeing many companies really becoming much more aware and moving fast to set up pilot projects. Marketing has become digital, it’s all about e-marketing nowadays.

I often talk about the three major trends that companies need to keep in mind: real time – customers are looking for immediacy; the advent of mobile devices; and the complexity of potential touch-points with the customer. Those players who can score points within this triangle will be the ones who succeed in taking advantage of the situation.

Three key points for companies today: real time, mobile, and the wide range of customer touch-points

Has there been any corresponding change in the skillsets required?

Well we are seeing jobs emerging in the digital marketing field. Today marketing departments are looking for people with a background in marketing skills who also have some knowledge of digital. Soon we’re going to see developers and other types of web technicians specialising in marketing and they will be much sought after…

Nowadays firms need a marketing director who of course understands the business but who also has a solid knowledge of the technologies. In the past the Chief Marketing Officer used to be largely seen as a manager who cared more about ROI than the actual technology. In today’s world this is no longer possible.

Brands seem to have understood the importance of being accessible on mobile devices. However, when you see just how few people use their apps regularly after downloading them, it seems that you can’t just launch one app and leave it at that?

Well, apps just aren’t smart enough, yet. There’s a real problem with the way they’re used. To enter into a conversation with a user, the app must be able to reach him/her at just the right moment. So you have to know the person you’re talking to. Today’s technology enables us to gather information on a customer by drawing on his/her data, to analyse it and to react ‘intelligently’ in order to generate a promising conversation with the customer.

Today’s technology enables marketers to start a conversation with the user in the right place at the right time

How do you monetise the data?

Monetisation is part of a three-stage process: first of all the data has to be collected, then it’s processed, then comes monetisation. If companies don’t invest adequately today in storing customer data, they’ll soon have to face up to the sensitive issue of buying data.

When it comes to data management, in which sectors do you see useful initiatives appearing?

The retail sector, especially the fashion business, is showing positive signs – particularly as regards use of real-time data management.

Meanwhile companies from all sectors are now setting up data management platforms to give them a 360° view, aggregating customer marketing data and big data. This type of tool – which Teradata for example is developing – can show marketers where the next prospective customers are to be found and how to best to reach out to them.

By Pauline Canteneur