There can be few PR teams in the country that include a professional marketing statistician. Fiona Cameron joined Bulletin from Experian a year ago. Here she explains why and outlines some of the projects she has been doing for clients.
Fiona Cameron worked for Experian for 20 years and was in charge of building its famous Mosaic classification, used by marketing teams around the world to help target customers effectively.
Can you explain briefly what Mosaic is and how you built it?
It’s a consumer segmentation built on data from the census and other public and third-party sources, as well as Experian’s own proprietary data. Every adult in the UK population is described by their demographics, lifestyles, preferences and behaviours. Building it involved processing over 850 million pieces of information, covering 49 million individuals and 26 million households. We used cluster analysis to divide people and households into 66 distinct types with names like “Metro High-Flyers” and “Modern Parents”. We also created Mosaics for many countries around the world, including the US, Brazil, Japan and India.
What use was that to marketing teams?
There are lots of ways this can be used but typically companies might overlay Mosaic on to their own data to better understand existing customers. They can then segment their customers and communicate with them more individually. They can also use Mosaic to identify and target other similar customers more efficiently and cost-effectively.
So what’s that got to do with PR?
Well, the disciplines of PR and marketing are moving closer together. PR still involves managing the reputation of an organisation but communication strategy now encompasses far more than mass media. Identifying and engaging with target audiences much more personally through multiple channels is vital and data gives essential insight into this process.
Bulletin has always been strategic in its approach to communications, so understands this. Of course, the team’s great strength is in storytelling, as the core PR team are all former journalists, and they recognise that written narrative is not the only way to tell stories in the digital era. In fact, with shortening attention spans, good infographics underpinned by strong data are just as powerful. So we have an interesting mix of skills and experience.
It may surprise potential clients to hear we’ve got a statistician within the team, but they see the value pretty quickly.
What projects have you worked on for clients?
A whole host of projects – including infographics, surveys, presentations and customer modelling projects. So, for example:
Infographics – I work closely with our graphic design and writing teams on infographics in the Rathbones client magazine. See our case study here
Surveys – I’ve been involved in surveys for the OddfellowsFriendly Society, constructing and testing questions, analysing the results to generate the best stories and working with the team to present them as effectively as possible. See an example here
Presentations – We help a number of clients produce compelling PowerPoint company presentations. Often that means presenting performance data, making it easier to understand and the underlying message more powerful. Having a data expert alongside them is a bonus for the designers.
Customer modelling – I’ve worked with financial companies to build models to predict the likely behaviour of customers. Working alongside in-house data teams, I’ve developed propensity models to target customers by their likely response to offers. I’ve also developed bespoke customer segmentations to allow companies to tailor offers and communications to customers at key points in their customer lifecycle.
And finally, in my spare time I turn my attention to Bulletin’s own data, analysing it to ensure we’re running efficiently and sustainably.
It’s a varied and interesting job!