Consumer data

The answer is actually twofold; brands need to ensure there’s a direct customer benefit for sharing information and simultaneously provide clarity on how this information will be used. If brands want accurate data, they need to offer a fair exchange.

Minority report style tracking has often come under attack. Thrown out in mid-2013 as an intrusive, unethical approach to data collection was the monitoring of smart phones in order to tailor street advertising on recycle bins. What frustrated many people, was a lack of openness about the data collection methods. However, I wonder if customers had gained something in exchange for sharing their data, whether the story may have been very different… That we’ll never know!

Today’s customers are far more aware of what their data is worth to brands and therefore need to be reassured it’ll be used for their benefit. This customer desire for an equal value exchange means loyalty schemes have naturally taken the forefront of data collection strategies. These now encompass a variety of methods and platforms, as multichannel solutions have grown.

A great example of what works…

Natwest and RBS are partners of Reward with over a million Cashback Plus customers between them. Reward is a card based loyalty scheme that uses bank cards as the reward card, tracking spending and delivering offers based on the insight gained from spending habits. Online or offline – whenever the card is used the data is collected, analysed and used to deliver much better engagement and rewards for their customers.

This is a great example of a value exchange – the banks & Reward get their data and the consumer gets cashback…everyone’s a winner!

The consumer has become a lot wiser…


The face of data has changed drastically as consumers have become even more aware of its value to businesses. Retailers must now think carefully about how to tread the line between gaining valuable insight and providing an incentive to the customer for what is perceived as a privilege. If not, they risk alienating customers entirely.

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.