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Big Data, Big Business

A media innovator at heart, Strategy Partner Steve Dimakis is using the power of big data to help brands be more efficient in their marketing. 

Steve Dimakis helps brands to decide how and where to spend their advertising budget by analysing large amounts of data - a role that has evolved over time from a traditional ‘media buying and planning’ role into a client training and advisory position.  

“A lot of the work we’re doing with clients now is around how they can collect, manage, store, and use the data they’re collecting to become more efficient with their marketing,” he says.  

Steve uses paid, owned, and earned media channels to make covert, overt and one-to-one content discoverable, searchable and shareable throughout decision and behaviour change journeys. He’s worked for brands including Colgate-Palmolive, Suzuki New Zealand, Heartland Bank, and the New Zealand government Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.  


How Big Data Brings Valuable Insights 

Despite the current ubiquity of Big Data (cue “big brother is watching you”) Steve found that many clients weren’t actually capturing any data on their customers’ journeys, activities, and habits 

This was a huge lost opportunity, as it meant that any advertising strategy was effectively a stab in the dark - impacting Strategy’s ability to demonstrate a strong ROI and target the right audiences for their clients 

But according to Steve, having data and acting successfully on its insights are two different things 

“If you're making decisions about how you're using channels with imperfect data, you're doing yourself a massive disservice in a business sense.”  

Steve bases his strategic decisions on findings from bought third-party data, as well as first-party data which is collected by brands themselves.  

“We build a real audience of people who have third-party data traitsbut are also showing the behaviour we want to see on the brand’s individual online platforms. Together, they create a much tighter audience.”  


Using Big Data to Grow Businesses 

Good branding has always been about matching behaviour to messaging, he says, and one of life’s givens is that our behaviour as consumers is always changing.  

A project that Steve is particularly proud of is the work he’s done with his team for Luxaflex, which included devising a lead generation platform to help their 120 brick and mortar retailers sell the brand’s products better. As a result, they’ve grown to become the best-performing brand in the Hunter Douglas group.  

Big Data aside, a large part of his job is helping people and brands solve problems – and to achieve this end, Steve says honesty and transparency are very important.  

“We give our clients access to our platforms so the data collection isn’t some sort of dark arts. The data is there - it’s not hidden away from their reach.”  

Once the data has been analysed, the next step is forming the appropriate strategic and creative approaches around those findings. Steve and his team then find suitable channels that best disseminate the brand’s message out to the audience.

Bad data-driven marketing is purely data-driven, he says, whereas good data-driven marketing uses data to understand behaviour - and also considers the implications of its use. 

“Also, just because we’ve got certain data, doesn’t mean we should necessarily use it. There’s an ethical part to it as well, and the use of data should be respectful. If you, as a brand, are going to be part of your customers’ lives, you need to be respectful of them and in how you interact with them.” 

By harnessing the insights of Big Data, Steve and Strategy Media are uniquely placed to empower brands to become more valuable and relevant to their customers.

“One of the things that makes us different at Strategy is that we humanise both data and brands. We love people and we love ideas - and these come first in everything we do.”