Customer experience and personalization are hot topics for the boardroom right now. Whether brands are engaging in-app, on social media, on a website or even through email – the role of data has never been greater. Data is the fuel that makes all these very smart but very complicated engines roar – but what are we doing about it?

We all know this and we all know we should be doing it but are we using data to the best of our ability and to the benefit of the brands we work with. Companies like Tesco and Amazon got it right years ago and have been using data to deliver some really smart, engaging customer experiences. The rest are slowly catching up but not quick enough.

It’s bad, very bad….

I read recently a very worrying and very frustrating article on the Wall about retailers going mobile.

All stats (and personalisation image) here were taken from

According to the research performed by Teradata, 96% of retailers have a mobile app. However, when it comes to personalization only 13% are doing the basics of using the customers’ names in communication messages. Given that an app is such an dynamic, engaging, personal channel I have to ask why the hell not. If someone downloads an app, that is clear indication that they are interested in what you have to say or offer.

I’m sure most of you reading this from the UK will agree that although Virgin Media are a hugely successful outfit their direct mail is pretty awful – even today I received a letter through the door saying ‘Dear homeowner’ even though I have been a customer of theirs up until early this year. Seriously, we need to switch on and use these hugely valuable assets to provide experiences that a customer really wants. Start small and set up some simple preference centers and give your customers a voice, then use this information to talk their language.

Time to switch on!

If we can’t get the basics right, then how the hell will any brands lagging behind catchup with the dynamic personalization that is becoming more and more prevalent across all mobile devices these days.

Right message, right time, right device that’s relevant to what a consumer looked at on a website only seconds ago will be the norm in 18 months – if not earlier – so those that aren’t collecting and using the right customer data, please build a strategy that is geared around the fundamentals of direct marketing – data – it’s the fuel that makes this whole industry tick and keeps us doing what we all love!

If you want to know and understand more about the way data is changing the world you live in, or would like to know how data can add value to your business, please email me at


Dave Gurney

CEO, Alchemetrics - Expert in Data & Digital Marketing
enabling senior marketers to value from engaging customers online.