I read with interest Alan Mitchell’s article (MW April 20) regarding the evolution of direct marketing and using consumers to help ensure marketing success.
I couldn’t agree more that personal information is exactly that – personal – and that it should not be shared without the customer’s permission. This is an absolute priority for all data collection, and legislation is there to protect consumers.
Ideally, the perfect solution to collecting and using direct marketing data would be the collation of information from all customers by speaking to everyone, followed by one-to-one marketing to each of them. However, this is not a practical or cost-effective solution for most organisations. Economies of scale also need to be considered in order to use data from sources such as loyalty cards and put it to best effect.
It would be an unfair intrusion if every organisation separately bombarded customers with similar questions – probably more annoying than receiving the occasional piece of inappropriately targeted direct mail. Hence, a more centralised collection and analysis of this information, including lifestyle data where customers have provided information willingly, is beneficial all round.
I would also add that those organisations attempting to use known data and clever modelling techniques are, at least, making an effort to target with the correct direct marketing.
It’s worth pointing out that Ocean (as referred to in the article) does incorporate data collected from “real” consumers (from the lifestyle records included in the product), which contribute to more than 40 million records.
Ocean also combines transactional information with lifestyle questionnaire responses, market research surveys and modelled information, in order to provide a holistic view of the consumer market.
Finally, consideration should also be given to all of those that don’t give away any information – should they never be communicated with? From our YouGov survey on attitudes to direct marketing, 60% of consumers admitted to buying goods and services as a result of direct marketing each year. So some form of modelling is often required, and proves beneficial.
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