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Ed Child, Global Head of Consumer Data and Digital Analytics, Costa Coffee

Describe your career to date

 

I started my career using data and analytics in GIS and building spatial interaction models to support location planning. This led to roles in CRM and digital, initially at Asda, where I built a data and analytics team from the ground up, supporting the company’s growth within ecommerce and home shopping, consolidating its consumer data across the business into its first SCV.

Opportunities then came forward in the US with Walmart, looking at how the world’s largest retailer could better use its consumer data and combine it with retail POS data. This then developed into a role leading Walmart Marketing Effectiveness US, supporting smarter decision making; with a marketing budget of over $1 billion USD.

On transitioning back to the UK with family, I moved into more holistic roles looking at enterprise data across the Studio Retail Group. This involved landing the first data strategy, data maturity assessments, and successfully embedding a hub and spoke data model across the business. 

Most recently I was appointed to lead consumer data and analytics at Costa Coffee, working with one of the UK’s largest loyalty schemes and biggest data sets on coffee. This provides an amazing platform to deliver more relevant and personalised experiences to our Costa Club members, as well as looking at how we share consumer insights back to the business and make better operational decisions.

Data literacy is a key enabler of the value and impact from data. How are you approaching this within your organisation?

 

We have been approaching data literacy in two different areas: improving the data literacy of our data and analytics community and learning how to build a better understanding of data within the broader organisation.

Within our community, we have launched a data academy: a one-stop shop offering a range of different training and development opportunities to suit all our colleagues and individual learning styles. This begins with our most advanced courses for Level 7 Masters in Data Science, to a broader Level 4 Data Apprenticeship, building core foundations across a range of data disciplines. These have been very successfully received with colleagues taking part in multiple current cohorts. 

Next is our partnership with Cloud Academy which offers more technical training within building coding skills in Python and SQL, and other more technical qualifications. For more specific Microsoft tools (PowerBI, etc) we have opportunities to sponsor professional qualifications. Finally, we offer access to online video learning tools like Circus Street, which offers a range of courses to boost skills in data and digital literacy.

Our Costa data and analytics community is also critical here, bringing together data professionals across the business, sharing projects, updates, developments in new tools and technology, and ultimately bringing our data community closer together. Together we grow stronger!

Across the broader business, we have started running lunch-and-learns, with successful sessions on data science and generative AI that have both been positively received. These have been repeated across different business functions and made more relevant to drive engagement. We are then rolling out a broader programme in partnership with our learning and development team to support guided development into digital and data using the tools above.

What stage has your organisation reached on its data maturity journey?

Costa has been data rich, but historically insight and intelligence poor. We are on a journey through a much clearer data strategy on the value that this amazing data can offer and are now maturing the capability more progressively. Data products have been absolutely critical in demonstrating the value in a simple yet managed and productionised way; talking in a language that the business understands. 

We have made the biggest advancements within marketing with data products to drive more consumer understanding and demonstrating the value of the data behind the UKs largest coffee loyalty scheme. This offers amazing opportunities to drive more relevant and engaging marketing through CRM and hyper-personalisation. Our email and voucher sends are highly segmented and, with a next best action approach, have made significant revenue opportunities.

Secondly, our level of commercial analytics and understanding has stepped up significantly, with the transition from descriptive to prescriptive analytics. Our work on demonstrating accurate forecasts and business modelling has helped hugely – we are now facing broader opportunities to advance within supply chain and logistics and to minimise waste.

Maturity is also now developing to support our operations team with consumer store segmentation, pricing work, and range reviews to put data at the heart of our operational decisions. There is much more to do here to support our revenue growth management initiatives, but we have demonstrated the value in more data-guided decisions in critical operational areas.

We will look to repeat our previous data maturity assessment and measure our progress on the three-year plan to advance our maturity. This proves to be a great and simple benchmark to go back to the business, but also show the value driving projects as well as our investments into people and data culture. Our data maturity journey continues and will continue to evolve as we bring this to more of our global markets.

Ed Child
has been included in:
  • 100 Brands 2021 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2022 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2023 (EMEA)
  • 100 Brands 2024 (EMEA)