Data is King (or Queen)
The buzz word that enables analysts to move at 50% salary increases.
That has agencies and clients scrambling to unlock the magic and comparative advantage from data.
Fish paste, fish paste, fish paste.
Back to 1994.
Unilever planned to launch Organics Shampoo with a "pearls strung around your hair" campaign. Do not worry, this is not a creative commentary.
In Singapore, a young Media Planner worked through many nights to diligently create a high impact and strong sustenance annual media plan with a handsome single brand budget of $1mil.
Launch weights for 4 weeks
Sustenance TV bursts through the year
AV extended to an all-year cinema buy
1st ever all-magazine campaign by a mass market hair care brand.
This young Media Planner then stood shaking in her shoes presenting the 1994 annual plan to the Head of Marketing at Unilever Singapore.
He listened attentively.
Nodded his head at the right junctions.
Thanked the Planner politely at the end.
He then proceeded to share the results of his analysis - the product needed to hit an exit share of 11% in 3 months to gain momentum for the year. Without this, it had no hope of success.
An integrated launch was required where retail presence islandwide and advertising needed to hit on the same day.
Daily analysis, of TV ratings, competitive weights and retail sales, was required to determine if weights needed to increase or decrease.
Lastly, his approval to spend $1mil in 3 months, instead of 12, and signing off the media plans.
Organics launched in Singapore.
The scale of the launch took the competition by total surprise. They scrambled to respond but failed.
The brand attained its exit share after only 2 months and continued to gain momentum thereafter.
It was a milestone launch case in Unilever and remained a best practice 7 years later when the young Media Planner returned as Director on the Unilever account in Singapore.
What that young Media Planner learnt in 1994:
1. Data on its own is useless. Big, small or otherwise. The brain analyzing the data to make key business decisions and then the courage to take ownership is everything. Especially at the client side.
2. Physical and advertising channels integration is imperative for a seamless consumer experience.
3. Real time integration of media and sales data makes the difference.
All of this in 1994.
Before Google, Facebook, and YouTube.
Before DFA, GA, marketing mix econometrics, data visualization and dashboards.
Data is at the heart of everything.
It has always been.
It is just now making its comeback.