Be Avengers, not the Lone Rider – by Publicis’ Jennifer Fischer

If you are investing more in data this year, diversify your insights, writes Publicis Groupe’s Jennifer Fischer

By Jennifer Fischer, chief innovation and growth officer, Publicis Groupe

87 per cent of companies increased their investments in data in 2022. The question is: are companies investing in the right things?

Despite investments in data consistently rising for years, only 23 per cent of companies characterise themselves as data-driven. 

When it comes to marketing, the gap is simple to understand: most companies do the same thing and have the same type of data to base decisions on, year-on-year. Brand health, customer segmentation, competitor research and maybe some attribution modelling – all of this matters. But here’s the problem: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. 

In 2023, the priority should be the diversification of your data investments. To illustrate this, let me tell you about my onboarding. 

Earlier this year, I started my journey at Publicis Groupe, and I knew before I even joined that there was a big community of Star Wars and Marvel lovers. Even during my recruitment process, I was told that within the leadership team, I was to be Thor. Yes Thor, from Asgard, played by Chris Hemsworth. If you have ever met me, you might wonder why. I certainly do not have anywhere close to the right muscle mass. But Thor is pretty cool, so I won’t question it. 

Then I joined and I started my onboarding, which included over 60 induction meetings to get to know the capabilities and the people behind them. This is when I recognised that the Marvel analogy was more than fandom enthusiasm, it had an element of truth.  

Imagine a group of people with different superpowers – the power to diagnose, predict, prescribe and some weirder powers (we’ll get to that).

One such superhero has the power of eye tracking; he can identify both online and in the real world where the attention goes. Even more, he can measure the electrical activity in the brain, he can track emotional response, all this to optimise journeys and even investments. Like Batman, this superhero likes his coffee black like the night and drinks dark roast only.

Another one has the finger on the pulse. He knows not only what’s trending, but at the press of a button, he can use artificial intelligence to map out the gaps and identify the white spaces and battlegrounds in the content space. He is more like Batman, not just a lover of finer things like art, but also a collector (not weapons
but shoes). 

Yet another has a full 360 degree-vision on search. With her partners, she can see how to use it to optimise a web experience, what content to develop to generate organic traffic and traction. She is like a Wonder Woman – always ready for some action, especially if it is wake-surfing and snowboarding.    

There is one who can scan digital shelves and identify how to defend against competitors in bidding wars, how to boost organic search rankings and drive growth and profitability on platforms like Amazon or InstaShop. This commerce superhero is more like Superman, he loves football and can apparently accurately predict victory or losses. 

These are just a few out of several thousands of specialists. There are those who can assess data maturity, those who create dashboards that correlate spend to sales, those who know all of Gen Z’s hidden codes on TikTok, those who get brands ready for a cookie-less world. 

But all of this would not work without another type of hero. This one can replicate the powers of others. That power is called mimicry in the superhero universe. It allows them to speak everyone’s language. It allows them to engage the right superhero at the right time. It allows them to make the sum bigger than its part.

Essentially, these are the consultants and business leads, the ones who transform superheroes into the Avengers instead of the Lone Rider. They deliver the true Power of One, a seamlessly connected organisation with fluid and modular expertise that unlocks growth for the business at the centre. One such superhero is like Iron Man in nature who loves to build IKEA furniture instead of armour.

So, if you are investing more in data this year – as 93 per cent of companies plan to do according to Forbes – here is a simple piece of advice: don’t just do more of the same. Look at your strategy again and consider how to diversify insights and perspectives to get a more holistic picture of where the opportunities lie. 

Or simply, get your very own Avengers. For my part, as the designated Thor of the band, I’d say this; if you are to have a hammer, get one that can fly, blast energy, teleport and even get invisible.