Gail Galuppo is a C-suite executive in customer strategy and marketing with extensive experience leveraging data and analytic solutions to identify “order of magnitude” insights and drive change. Working for top corporations across the globe in financial services, retail, banking, payments and technology industries, Galuppo transformed organizations to enable customer-centric decisioning with the use of strategic analytics.
We speak with Gail on marketing analytics and how CMO’s are using it for effective decision making.
AIMAnalytics India Magazine: Gail, Thanks! What, per your experience, are the most significant challenges that CMO’s face today in the analytics space?
GGGail Galuppo: Today the biggest challenge a CMO faces is in understanding analytics and the next big hurdle is convincing his or her peers in the C-suite to adopt analytics for the strategic decision-making process. Analytics will succeed only if it becomes part of the culture of an organization. A lot of companies are looking at analytics as a quick-fix solution. The real impact will only come from sustained investment and leadership involvement in implementing decisions.
AIM: So, how can CMO’s better utilize analytics and showcase its value?
GG: We use analytics to better understand what’s going right in our business and what we can improve. I believe the best way to showcase the value of analytics is not just to understand and interpret the multi-channel data and draw predictive insights but to actually embed analytics at the point of action, at the point of decision-making.
As an outcome-focused CMO, I do believe that CMOs are at the forefront to lead this change for businesses.
AIM: Can you brief us about a specific use case in analytics that has brought significant value to any of your past organizations?
GG: I was leading marketing at Sears Holdings Corp., which was at that time more a “product” focused company where merchants were indirectly driving the decision-making within the organization. But what we were able to do changed the business forever. We were able to leverage the Teradata warehouse, transaction data and research data to better understand what our customers/potential customers were buying and where they were buying it. We were also able to identify what they really wanted out of their relationship with us. Over a period of time, we were able to provide fact-based insights, which we used to influence decisions across all business functions.
This is what eventually led to a change in the culture of the organization from a product-focused firm to a customer-focused firm.
This ties back to what I mentioned earlier about embedding Analytics at the point of action and showing the impact on the culture of the company.
AIM: How do you see Analytics evolving today in the industry as a whole? What are the most important contemporary trends that you see emerging in the Analytics space across the globe?
GG: For almost 20 years, I have been working with data warehouses, econometric modeling and analysis. This is long before analytics became a fashionable buzzword. A lot of people at the C-suite think that analytics is about campaigns. But what I really find successful is looking at how we can leverage customer data to deliver insights and drive actions. This is the key for marketing, and that approach can be replicated across all the entire business to drive outcomes.
Hard-side marketers know how to blend the creative side of Marketing with fact-based analysis to drive business growth and customer loyalty.
AIM: What are your thoughts on analytics talent and what skill sets do you look at while recruiting in analytics?
GG: An analytics hire could resemble a mythical unicorn, with the variety of required skillsets listed in current job description. I look for a deeper skill set than just data knowledge. Industry experience and a candidate’s ability to understand the business and the market makes a lot of difference. It is important for a candidate to understand that Analytics is no longer about prioritizing or reporting but rather about bringing in insights that can be used for driving actions. Traits like curiosity, creativity and a focus on outcomes are what I look for.
AIM: What are your thoughts about Analytics in India? Where does it figure in your whole analytics strategy?
GG: I am very excited by the potential in India. I was one of the first leaders in GE to start looking at the potential of analytics in India. Over the last few years, I have seen the growth of many individuals. For example, I have known the BRIDGEi2i Analytics founders Prithvijit, Ashish and Pritam right from the initial days at GE and it is amazing to see the passion with which they drive analytics-based insights.
At a broader level, India has the potential and ability to take a greater stance on fact-based decision through analytics to drive decisions.
And for companies, I believe it is about a CMO becoming a customer strategy leader and helping peers of supply chain, finance and other functions to see how analytics can help influence the business to drive continuous growth. The CMO should be the early adopter of analytics and evangelize it across functions and for the overall benefit of the organization.
AIM: Anything else you wish to add?
GG: The industry is at an exciting tipping point. And I think it will help if marketers really understand how to build a customer strategy with data.
Over the years, I have used analytics with behavioral data and integrated it with quantitative research data. And through this we were better able to understand what customers want and how we can continue to stay relevant in their minds.
I would say cut through all the hype surrounding data and focus on the real outcomes and see who can help you achieve those outcomes. For example, you might need to work with specialist firms to solve the challenges that no one else is looking at currently while you work internally to drive the change in culture and make sure people are seeing the real benefits.