I made my first visit to the Royal Mail Media Centre today. Having left the grandeur of Engine Towers, I was required to locate my own TGI data without the help of a research department. I don’t know quite what I expected but the experience certainly surpassed my expectations. If you haven’t ever been to the centre, it is located between Covent Garden and Holborn and is more leading London ad agency than postal warehouse.
The service is completely free. The only condition is a 1hr induction that was led by a really helpful guy. There were about five of us and we were taken through various applications – I was interested in ‘Choice 3’ which compiles all the TGI data, but there was also ‘Mintel’ and ‘Datamonitor’ for reports, Ad dynamic for calculating brand spend and ‘MarketMonitor’ and ‘Billets’ for pulling off creative work from any brand. All this information can be accessed for absolutely nothing. Not just that, the staff there were so helpful and even made you tea and coffee!
Whilst I was incredibly grateful for the service, it was difficult to see how the commercial objectives of such a scheme could be achieved by the level of investment required to keep such a scheme going. I guess, the main aim is to assist with targeting for direct mail and ultimately boosting the coffers – but it would be interesting to see the percentages of people actually developing a direct mail campaign with the information provided against those who wish to understand their audiences better for other communications. Either way, they do a great job…
Now, data has been in the bloggersphere a lot lately. I’m an account handler, rather than a planner – so my involvement with interrogating and dissecting it has been pretty limited but the process of obtaining it was really enjoyable. Essentially, you create a matrix by dragging in a range of variables from basic stuff like age and sex right through to more complex stuff like whether you drive a 2 door saloon. It really is amazing. I’ve got a raft of data for my client now and the challenge is how to present it. I suspect something like this, maybe beyond my capabilities…but hopefully I’ll be able to make it say what it needs to say. From looking and reading about it recently, here are a few reasons why data is so interesting (predominantly courtesy of the ever impressive BBHLabs):
• Looking at everyday things in new ways completely changes your perspective: – there is no ”mundane” data when you set it in context.
• Multiple visualisation techniques: – Show you that there’s more than one way of seeing things
• Stay true to the data: – There is a random-ness to data-it will make patterns you never anticipated.
• You don’t have to use all the data : – sometimes seeing patterns is about what you leave out
So, get down the Royal Media Centre and get grappling with some serious information because data really is the new rock n’roll….