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2017: in your words

28th March 2017 • Features

After another turbulent year and with plenty of significant change lying ahead, we ask the industry what they think the next year might bring for data and insight-driven marketers…


Chris Combemale, CEO, DMA group

“May 2018 should be a date that is in every marketer’s diary, giving us around 16 months before the GDPR comes into force. It is concerning that only half of our industry feels their businesses are prepared for the new rules and not that many more believe they will be ready in time. The finish line for GDPR readiness is fixed and the risk to businesses of not being compliant is significant. Our advice is to continue preparations in earnest over the coming year. Not making it across the line in time is not an option.”

Mark Davison, Chief Data Officer, Callcredit Information Group

“The digital revolution has led to an unprecedented explosion of personal data that continues to erupt at an astounding rate. Naturally, consumers are curious about how this data gets used and how safely it is stored. Businesses have a crucial role to play in ensuring the security of their customers and communicating the steps taken to achieve this at every stage of the customer journey.

“More must be done to ensure that people feel they have full control over their own data and a deeper understanding about how brands are using it. This will accelerate growth of the hotly anticipated rise of the personal information economy to the mutual benefit of both businesses and consumers.”

Dave Gurney, MD, Adroit Data & Insight

Dave Gurney
Much has been written on this subject already. And many will ignore it! But Brexit or not, hard or soft, GDPR will happen come May 2018. Many organisations are getting ready for it now, but many won’t until it’s too late. The likely outcome will be a scrabbling across the latter part of 2017 and into the first quarter of 2018, as companies try to preserve their customer base and get that all vital Double Opt-in.

For those of you not familiar with GDPR, it’s essentially new European legislation, carrying a heavy fine if not adhered to, that involves ensuring that all personal data must be processed lawfully, fairly and transparently. As such, that’s essentially what the current UK Data Protection legislation enshrines, but it particularly impacts email and SMS channels, bringing them in line with more traditional channels; and, vitally, requires proof that opt-in has been obtained. For email, this can only be done via a Double Opt-in. Come May 2018, if you’ve not collected a proven double opt-in, you won’t be able to communicate with that customer or prospect. Between now and then therefore, we are strongly advising our clients to get as many opt-ins as they can.

It might seem a long way away, but you should expect only 5% to consent from each double opt-in attempt you make – and that doesn’t give you many more opportunities. So across 2017, we anticipate increasing panic as companies realise that their post-May 2018 contactable bases will shrink rapidly.

Third-party data-sets are likely to be severely impacted, and provenance, a word mostly associated with understanding where your food has been sourced from, will become increasingly important when applied to data too. As for email, it’s probably quite inevitable that opted-in bases will reduce in size, but on the up-side, potentially they will become more responsive. It may also reduce the dominance, for many organisations, of email as the primary contact channel, and necessitate a shift to multi-channel campaigns. We have seen some exceptionally high engagement rates for email/SMS campaigns we have run; mobile, in particular, will become increasingly more important across 2017.

We anticipate that multi-channel campaigns engines, like FastStats PeopleStage, will be adopted to allow for the diversity of available channels, and, in the post GDPR world, the channel that organisations are permissioned to use.  These engines allow for a more sophisticated hierarchy of contact approach, which maybe blended with “Next Best Action” or propensity modelling, and delivered across the range of available channels – from pushes to call centres, email, social media, or other digital platforms e.g. TrustPilot etc. and behaviourally triggered automated activity. E.g. serving response rewards, offers etc.

So in 2017 we see GDPR as a stimulus that will lead many organisations to rethink not just channel preference, but to review their comms programmes to engage with customers or supporters across multiple media.


Alchemetrics team

Thanks to the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulations in May 2018, every business with dealings in the EU will – or will need to – have data at the forefront of their 2017 plans.

I believe many clients will be looking to have the right processes in place by the time the fireworks go off on New Year’s Eve to ensure that the complexity of adoption does not result in a 2018 hangover.

And this agenda-driving revolution in data management comes at a time that could arguably be seen as data’s 2.0 moment.

Businesses are no longer afraid of data. The journey from basement to boardroom is complete, and this has inevitable consequences.

Since the financial meltdown of 2008 turned the advertising industry on its head, all spend is subject to far more rigour, and justifying every penny spent has become more than the pastime of fastidious financial directors.

In the early clamour to obtain a 360° view of the customer, budget requests were signed off and a lot of money was invested in a lot of competing or conflicting systems.

Companies are now beginning to unpick these silo systems, which will result in a cull of a number of solutions and the introduction of others.

This is hugely exciting for Alchemetrics given our focus on building an ecosystem of platforms capable of delivering on all marketing demands, under our award winning service framework – Software With a Service.

Whether e-voucher, real-time customer journeys, mobile apps, data mining or analytics platforms, collaboration is at the heart of what we do and will continue to be the case throughout 2017 as the demand for capitalising on all those silo’d data points grows.

As the recession hit, the internet was just not able to deliver the rich user experience it does today, and a billboard was considered targeted marketing purely because of the demographic of the postcode it was plastered in.

Brands demand more now, rightly so. And they have come to recognise the value the SCV holds for driving everything – online and offline – to finally deliver that 360° experience for the consumer.

And that is exactly what Alchemetrics’ informa platform does.

Brands of all description are recognising the value of data. From making strategic boardroom decisions to influencing the experience customers have with a brand, it is all now driven by data.

This year will arguably be the most important for data marketers since their businesses were established. We’ve got the attention of boards, and now they want to be impressed by what we can do.

Our industry’s hard work is about to pay off, to the benefit of our businesses, our clients, and ultimately to all those consumers we know a lot better than we used to.

Charity Marketing

Elizabeth Denham, Information Commissioner

“The most successful organisations think of data protection as something more than mere compliance. Everyone must stop focusing on the paperwork of privacy and move towards commitment to the people whose data they have – commitment to managing personal data legally, sensitively and ethically.”

Gerald Oppenheim, Head of Policy, The Fundraising Regulator

“It is important that charities and fundraisers understand their responsibilities in relation to data protection and data consent, which should be based on consideration of the rights and the wishes of the individual.”

Paula Sussex, Chief Executive, Charity Commission

“Charities are subject to the same legal requirements as all other organisations and we expect them to properly safeguard personal information according to the law. Trustees should have systems in place so that there is the right level of knowledge and awareness about the rules and expectations, and that they are adhered to.

B2B Marketing

Jon Clarke, CEO, Cyance

“Today’s customers are fast becoming dissatisfied with companies due to the traditional B2B marketing methods they’re using. These methods include using mass marketing techniques, which involve consistently targeting enough people in the hope that statistically, they’ll hit enough people at a time when they have a need or are looking for a solution.

“As established as these techniques might be, they can easily result in people being spammed with unwanted or too many messages which, in turn, can instantly lead to unhappy customers and even customers resenting and totally tuning out to a brand.

“Fundamentally, listening to buyer behaviour signals enables companies to communicate the right message, to the right people, at the right time. It’s this insightful approach that enables companies to help people overcome their challenges and pain points and become trusted partners, turn prospects into customers, and customers into satisfied, loyal brand ambassadors.”

Andrew Dalglish, Managing Director, Circle Research

“Research we’ve carried out predicts four themes will dominate in 2017 – personalisation, data, integration and creativity. B2B environments being defined by the 80:20 rule is nothing new in many cases. But agency leaders think that 2017 will bring an increased focus to the principal of a disproportionately high proportion of spend being made by a relatively small number of customers.

“Most important will be the relationship between marketing and sales. Though not always easy, this relationship will become crucial to success as a more personalised approach to marketing emerges.

“Agency leaders anticipate that 2017 will see a blurring of the lines as B2B becomes more like B2C.  There will be a stronger focus on building the brand, tapping into buyers’ emotions and taking a more creative approach to campaigns.”

Women In Marketing

Jessica Fardin, Senior Director of Marketing and Channel Programs, Episerver

“One in 10 women believe they have been held back in a marketing role as a result of their gender, according to new research commissioned from my company Episerver as part of our ‘Digital Ninety-Nines’ project to promote female leaders in digital marketing, IT and tech.

“The research reveals that female marketers are four times more likely than men to feel they’ve been held back as a result of their gender.

“We have witnessed major developments in the digital marketing industry over the last twenty years, yet the industry is lagging in its inclusion and appointment of women in significant technology leadership roles. Women make up only 17% of the UK technology sector – a figure that drops for senior positions.”

Email Marketing

Skip Fidura, Client Services Director, dotmailer 

“This year’s insight into the view of consumers and marketers on email paints a worrying picture. While both love the channel, consumers continue to say they get too many and irrelevant emails from brands. Over half of consumers have considered deleting their email account to control the flow of marketing emails they receive. As email marketers, we have a responsibility to our customers, to ourselves and to our businesses to keep our channel viable and thriving long into the future.”

Nick Keating, Director EMEA,  BounceX

“2017 will see a shift in the current attitudes toward email and pave the way for a transformation in email marketing strategies. An email address is the ultimate individual digital identifier, and B2C companies will begin to realise the true value of this as consumers continue to accumulate and engage on more devices (consumers possess, on average, 3.5 connected devices). Companies will adapt strategies to own audience and create channels for direct communications. In order for email to deliver on its full potential, companies will need to rethink their ‘batch and blast’ approach and reconnect with the individual behind the device. By utilising a Behavioural Email Strategy, email will deliver high ROI and become a more effective revenue channel.”

Data Analytics

Anthony Botibol, Marketing Director, BlueVenn 

“With the potential of big data, marketers have a better opportunity than ever before to truly understand their customers’ decision making processes. Unfortunately, as it stands most marketers simply don’t have the time, the knowledge or the tools necessary to undertake this task in a practical and effective way.

“While there is definitely a skills shortage when it comes to data analysis, I would argue that marketers shouldn’t have to skill-up in order to achieve this. Nobody should need to have a degree in data science in order to generate value from their customers’ information, what they need are tools and technologies that can simplify the task. Until marketers are provided with these tools, they will never unlock the true potential of their customers’ data.”

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