Throughout the course of this year we have seen marketers move closer to adopting a data-driven approach to their campaigns. In fact it is increasingly becoming the norm. However, there are a number of brands that are still not monetising data effectively.

According to our annual study into the email activity of the UK’s top 50 online retailers in advance of Christmas, 66 per cent failed to send any Christmas offers to their customers in the run up to Black Friday, whilst 74 per cent failed to provide any information relating to their Christmas sales.

Some critics might argue that this lack of investment didn’t have any negative impact, online sales reportedly grew by 12.9% in November, compared to the previous year – according to the Office for National Statistics’ Retail Sales report – but retailers and brands need to be thinking far more about the long-term. Loyalty and positive engagement don’t just happen overnight, they have to be earned over time. If they had, perhaps these figures would have been higher.

So what’s the problem?

To achieve highly effective data-driven marketing of this type, you must start with the data. But as businesses continue to grow they become so transfixed on collecting it, they don’t consider how to properly utilise it. So whilst data is a brand’s biggest asset if used in the right way, it’s also their biggest obstacle to achieving a lucrative personalised marketing campaign. The trouble is, brands are simply not using their data to optimise cross-selling opportunities, and failing to identify new ways to enhance the communications they are sending to their customers and in the right way that will see them increase the revenue they generate.

Processing and analysing data takes time and a great deal of resource to ensure it is being used effectively. With digitisation currently providing a real catalyst for change, over the next 12 months we will see brands increasingly look to use customer data in smarter ways across their CRM campaigns. Email will undoubtedly play a vital role in this, but only if organisations unite their data into one central location, rather than let it sit in silos across the business.

Essentially marketers need to be empowered to make better value-orientated decisions based on the known or predicted interests and needs of consumers – and their company’s business as a whole. This means marketing budgets can be stretched further while results are continually improved.

Automation plays a key role in overcoming the imbalance that holding vast amounts of data creates. It allows you to spot opportunities and identify weak links in your customer communication strategy plus pinpoint patterns in your customer behaviour.

Trigger or event based messages that capitalise on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), delivered in real-time to consumers’ inboxes, are perhaps the one of the biggest opportunities in this market at the moment, but they require rich insights to make them a reality. Delivering stale, uninteresting email content that is devoid of the brand, character or personality that the consumer first fell in love with is no longer excusable.

Automation enables brands to act with speed. As always, with the volume of consumer data increasing daily, businesses need to undertake regular evaluation of their systems and processes to make sure they have the most efficient strategies in place to collect, house and pull out the relevant insights that will inform individual customer targeting.

In 2015, we will see this issue accelerate. Automation is increasingly being considered far more favourably as an option to streamline marketing resource management (MRM), campaign management and CRM activity. In fact MRM is emerging as a critical component, as the importance of a fully integrated strategy gains momentum.

Businesses that invest in solutions such as these will be able to transform internal activity across the marketing department. Automating all the processes that support your online and offline marketing efforts – from budgeting and campaign planning to project management and marketing asset management – can help overcome the issues associated with delivering data-driven campaigns and strip out the complexity of managing manual processes with lots of decision points and branches.

Mark Ash

Mark Ash


Mark Ash is Managing Director Teradata Interactive International.