TMSME_brekkieFurther to my piece published recently in Gulf News (see last blog post), here’s an update to the content at that event.

The Marketing Society Middle East sat down for it’s third “Uncomfortable Breakfast” to discuss the hot topic of data. You may ask why we call it such an off-putting name, “Uncomfortable Breakfast”.

It is, of course, a delicious breakfast held at an enviable establishment here in Dubai – such as the fabulous space we’ve been using for the past couple of events, the Armani Hotel.

The “uncomfortable” element is to find a topic that the marketing community knows is important but may not, en masse, discuss in an open forum regularly enough. For this reason there are no journalists present!

This forum brought together forty senior marketers with regional and local remits, and all came to hear more about the story behind data.

Today that’s the problem; we’re talking about data itself and not about the stories it can provide. Taking the latter approach, storytelling, Marilies Rumpold-Preining of IBM Commerce gave us some interesting insights:

It used to be about customer records, customer data, having the address right, recording their email and the basic profiling; all the data was kept in silos and to bring it all together, to have a holistic view of the customer was not an obvious thing for companies to do.

But here we are today, Dubai has evolved and so has the world of data. Today it’s not only about customer profile, it’s much more about the context and the behaviour of the client. It’s where they transact, what they do, where they access information.

Almost all CMOs understand that to grow their business they need to better engage with them and create unique experiences for them; the only way to do that is by using data in a meaningful way – using both the basic profiling data and also the contextual data i.e. where their clients surfed last night, which mall did they visit, which store they went into… 

The way Marilies and her colleagues at IBM describe this is using data to help marketers to create more “Moments of Serendipity”.

With today’s omnichannel marketing we can generate an uncomfortable amount of data. It’s a question of turning it into useful, actionable insights.

We talked about how Watson quickly structures all that unstructured data – have you seen the series of videos about Watson – if not, do have a look here:

And if you’re interested why you should join, why not hear from other people who were at this event:

If you’re interested in hearing more of the content of this event – why data is important – have a listen to this video:

If you are based in the Middle East and are interesting in taking part in the society or join the next Uncomfortable Breakfast get in contact with

James Welch is a board director of The Marketing Society Middle East and managing director of Blue Logic Consulting

The Marketing Society Middle East films featured here were produced by