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Craig Hanna is the Head of Content and Marketing at the Global Marketing Alliance, an international forum for connecting global marketers.

The Global Marketing Alliance is an online marketing resource for marketers. Their heritage is data and direct marketing, so they provide insight for data-driven marketers. They also focus, as per the name, on global best practice and next practice globally.

Some examples of the work of the Global Marketing Alliance

A few years ago, most of the innovation in the marketing communications area was driven by the US and the UK. Nowadays, it is very global. So, marketers need to know what’s happening out there. For example:

  • Micro-payments – East Africa is nailing this area.
  • Mobile – South and Latin America are leading the way.
  • Over the Top Messaging Apps and how they are integrated with Government & Commerce, then look at Asia.

Marketers can get inspiration from these markets and The Global Marketing Alliance wants to share that. Many markets have skipped technologies in hard-line/desktop straight to mobile, so they have had to innovate as that is their web.

Until recently, only large companies and niche smaller companies really traded internationally, because you needed to put an infrastructure in to do that. Now, with the rise of trade-platforms and the rise of cross-border fulfilment, you don’t need to put an infrastructure in to trade internationally. You can sell £millions overseas by using digital platforms and in-country fulfilment services to do so.

Post-Brexit, will The Global Marketing Alliance be even More Valuable?

EU legislation in data will be one of the toughest in the world, and we are pretty much signed up to implementing it. So, marketers will need to understand the changes from that arena.

We do live in a global market. So, we SHOULD be looking further afield. Look at the potential size of markets in developing nations from Brazil, China, Indonesian countries like the Philippines along with India, we will need to trade with these countries increasingly and not rely on what is in our immediate vicinity (EU).

So, marketers need to understand those markets, what platforms exist, and what their nuances are because they use marketing differently.

Data-Driven Marketing

The Global Marketing Alliance survey on data is revealing. As the internet of things gets bigger and real over the next few years, the amount of data we will see will become huge. Marketers understand that, says the survey, some 90%. But less than half that number feel they are ready for data-driven marketing.

It is also not a lack of will in companies. The survey asked whether the lack of preparedness was to do with senior leadership commitment – it was more skills than a lack of investment. There is a huge shortage of data analytics professionals to do modern analytics with the modern data flows from the internet.

For most businesses, their basic database isn’t right. Never mind the future requirements. So, a lot of companies should start with the basics. Where do we get our data from? How do we store it? What governance do we need around it? Companies are just not using their data to drive business value.

There’s a lot of data about, but precious little information

Craig sees this time and time again. They measure outputs NOT outcomes.

“The best thing about digital marketing is the data, the worst thing about digital marketing is the data.”

There is a massive difference from having data and actionable insight. This still confuses businesses still to this day.

One of the big problems is when non-marketers start looking at the detail, they tend to fixate on the detail. The challenge is for them to determine the LEVERS in their business. What is the data you need to allow you to act on?


  • Tier how you report data, depending on the role a person has.
  • Get visualisation tools, don’t just rely on spreadsheets. This helps you show what that data MEANS.

A lot of this development is being done in larger businesses along with smaller businesses who are challenger brands, because they realise that understanding the data gives them an edge. Some of the larger businesses are data-fat and lazy, the smaller businesses are resource poor and the challenger smaller/mid-tier who are focused are perhaps doing some of the most innovative work, such as in the insurance business.

Start-ups often leverage data to produce better services. i.e. Uber. It’s a data driven business. They have disrupted that sector.

How do you turn data-fat into data-energy?

It’s not necessarily the volume of data. It is more about the filtering process. Typically, we structure data, like name, address, phone number etc. Product data would be SKU number, price, specifications, etc. But a lot of the NEW data is unstructured. Like behaviour on a website.

There is plenty of processing power to make use of this data, without much investment relatively.

Conundrum: People who own the data, don’t have the data analytics skills, the people who need the data, cannot connect to the data. That’s why you need powerful insight tools to process data. Rubbish in, rubbish out.

So, start with the questions you really need answering from that data, and what levers you need to pull to deliver against those questions, this comes down to skills.

Collect, filter, drive insight, drive decision making, drive business processes.

These people who can do this are in short supply. Craig believes this role NEEDS to be elevated within companies. Data is the new oil. The fourth industrial revolution.

A chief data officer? Owned by someone senior in the business.

Check out Craig’s visual authoring tool called “Cohesion”, this sits on top of enterprise CMS system Dribble. Craig describes it as like ‘Wordpress on Steroids”. This will launch in 2017.

Craig got into the data industry because of Apple. He met a guy in a bar, in the late eighties, who’d bought 2 SE30s for his design studio and no-one could get them working, so as Craig helped him and his career in advertising.

Gartner Hype Cycle – Machine Learning close to the top of the hype cycle!

The New Global Marketing Alliance Website

The new Global Marketing Alliance website focuses on data insight, data channels and data strategy.

The site already has 25,000 members. It is a good resource for data-driven marketers. There are lots of start-up guides and check lists to help you become familiar with data issues. There are tools to help you profile your clients, they are free or very cheap. The Global Marketing Alliance does run events, which is how they make their money.

The Global Marketing Alliance will continue to invest in content, to help marketers do their job better from a data-driven perspective.

The future has a proliferation of data channels. Knowing what to do is a big challenge for marketers. Craig thinks 2017 will be the breakthrough year for voice-interface. He quotes AmazonEcho, a voice activated personal helper in the house. Kevin has one in his kitchen.

Google says 20% of searches are voice activated, via Siri and such like.

The IOT will come of age this year, through connected devices. The next wave is likely to see Amazon Go. No longer queue to shop. Magic Leap, is another big player in this space. (Awesome website –

The Next 100 Days Podcast is brought to you by Graham Arrowsmith and Kevin Appleby