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The Marketing Database and Me

Jed MoleMay 09, 2016

In a recent conversation with Simon Chatfield, head of Ecommerce and CRM at Heathrow Airport and one of our most valued clients I was stunned that the words ‘marketing database’ were never uttered once by either of us. Which is odd, considering we talked for two hours and the fact that a marketing database is central to the Heathrow solution and story.

The reality is, what matters to Heathrow and to their customers is not how something happens, it’s what happens: the outcomes. What matters to all brands is growth and profitability, which can only come from happy customers who have had and who look forward to further happy customer experiences. Today, that can only come from great data-driven marketing, and it may rely on things like marketing databases, but I’m very pleased to say I feel a shift to what matters most, customer outcomes. Long may it continue!

I believe passionately that it’s this orientation that will serve us best, further endorsed by Sky’s head of data governance at a recent conference. In the Q&A, I asked him if his remit was compliance or also customer experience and trust. Encouragingly, he confirmed that it was the wider remit. Good.

These days, the much vaunted terms of Big Data and Customer Experience are under threat from the now ubiquitous GDPR acronym, and isn’t it great. Who’d have thought that such a dry subject of old would become so popular? There is a something of a bandwagon here but let it roll on, because at the heart of it now is the importance of treating customers as real people; or else! Sure there’s compliance, but I sense we’re now starting to see a realisation that just because we can do something through data, doesn’t mean that we should. Surely as consumers ourselves, we know an email every day or even every week depending on the brand is still too much, even if it costs the brand almost nothing to send. Better that we merge data and creativity to get it right rather than send it often.

Despite the explosion of data and myriad of technology and solutions, I hope we’re entering the age of ‘marketing with and for customers, not to and at them’.

Jed Mole is a regular contributor to the Internet Advertising Bureau UK’s News & Opinion Page. Read more at http://www.iabuk.net/blog/the-marketing-database-and-me#tD1pJWhcuWKji2Pc.99