“Right now we’re reporting on what is easy, without any reference to the bottom line,” Davis says. “We report on things we can measure just because we can measure them, not because they are meaningful.”
While most of his work is built around measuring the impact of marketing and content campaigns, Davis’s conclusion that these meaningless statistics are leading to unfounded and incoherent business strategies is relevant to every area of business.
“Everyone is under the same pressure, needing to reduce costs and demonstrate impact, but we’re still not creating reports which track online performance back to the bottom line,” Davis says. “When you really know what’s successful you can begin to respond to customer interests and tastes, and actively build new business.”
Davis says the focus on statistics around online traffic and views obscures the real opportunities presented by data-rich web interactions. Rather than focus on creating content that produces new business opportunities, marketers are left creating content that will boost website traffic without a clear connection with actual business benefit.
Get a slice of the action
It’s a challenge Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (Domino’s) group chief executive officer and managing director Don Meij understands well. Some initial setbacks when he first took over the Domino’s leadership made Meij keenly aware not only of the importance of data, but of the importance of sourcing the right data.
“It’s not enough to just measure everything, you need to be sure you are actually getting insights into the cost of business and the impact it is having on sales,” Meij says. “Senior leaders need to get into data, and they need to invest in getting smarter data and quickly assess the impact of everything they do. They need to sit with their data team and understand what every number actually means.”
Speaking at Telstra’s recent Vantage event, Meij explained the data-led innovation culture that has enabled the company to spend most of the past decade pioneering new technologies in the retail sector.
“The GPS Driver Tracker technology we created as a safety feature for drivers became the world’s first pizza trackers that let you see your pizza as it got closer to your home, which gave us the data to make our pizzas faster and fresher, and constantly improve the quality of the experience while we improved our margins,” Meij says.
“We report on things we can measure just because we can measure them, not because they are meaningful.” Andrew Davis
Assess the big picture
Data-driven innovation has spurred the success of the $6.2 billion pizza enterprise, and remains at the cultural and analytical core of the way the business operates. Like Davis, Meij insists it’s not necessary to track the actual impact of every single digital project, as many will demonstrate measurable success, but that it is important to understand the sum total output of an innovation culture.
“Traditional innovation is incompatible with return on investment, but if you don’t innovate you fail, so you need to be constantly trying lots of new things and using the data to tell you if it’s working or not,” says Meij. “If one in 10 projects works that’s fine; if only 20 per cent of the stuff we try actually ends up being successful that’s not a problem because we’ve discovered something entirely new that puts us ahead of the competition. If only one or two projects are hugely successful that’s what makes our business different.”
Keep looking ahead
This culture of data-led innovation has driven growth of the Domino’s brand for the past decade and, although the company continues to grow profitably, Meij is already looking for the next round of technological innovation. This time he’s looking at robotics, artificial intelligence and delivery drones, all in the name of selling more pizza – and having more fun.
“The internet should never just replace the shopping experience, the internet should enhance the shopping experience, people should be able to do far more online than they can by coming into one of our stores,” he explains. “Technology and innovation are not about just about cutting costs or delivering more value, they operate together. If you discover more effective ways of operating you become more profitable, one follows from the other.”