Data can keep marketers in tune with their customers

Kevin Slatter, managing director of G2 Data Dynamics, argues that brands that use data for customer insight and not simply to address operational concerns will prove the real winners in the long-term.

We live in an age where brands have access to a previously unimaginable amount of information about customers.

Emerging technologies and increasing numbers of media channels, if implemented to their full potential, can provide a wealth of data to help brands understand their audience and determine exactly what they want from the brand and how they should be communicated with.

In theory, today’s environment is a dream scenario for brands wanting to know their customers better.

So it’s frustrating that so many brands are not taking up the opportunity. It’s astonishing how little companies really know about their customers: what motivates their behaviour, who is about to lapse, who is the most valuable (past and future) and how do they prefer to be contacted, for what, when and how often?

Collating and acting on this knowledge can make a huge difference to the success of a brand and can also vastly improve the relationships they have with their consumers. As we all know in life, if there is a problem, it’s far better to discuss it and find a solution than to bury your head in the sand and pretend that it will go away. So why are so many brands finding the sand when it comes to understanding their customers?

The problem all lies in the approach: too many brand marketers still cling to the idea that sales should be seen from a purely operational point of view. Brands know how many customers are joining and leaving but these figures are regarded clinically and without analysis; simply statistics on a board report.

It’s time that brands, aided by their marketing agencies, look at the reasons behind these figures and start using all the technology and insight available to them to prevent the mistakes and build on the successes.

So how is this achieved? In this constantly connected environment, data is accumulated on individuals through multiple touch-points on and off-line. This information can then be continually updated in real time, building accurate and dynamic profiles of each consumer.

This data is a marketing gold mine, enabling marketers to track trends, patterns in spending, and preferred media channels. If you are able to see what consumers have responded to in the past and why, it’s easier to predict what they are likely to respond to in the future.

Simply by assessing media channel preference amongst various demographics would be enough of a lead to ensure the right consumers are being reached with relevant communication and information.

Once brands start utilising this data and making a part of their marketing processes, it will become clear where their focus needs to lie. Using this insight, unhappy customers can be listened to and placated, happy ones can be thanked and rewarded, and brands can make sure they are using the correct communication channels and techniques to talk to those interested in their products and services.

Brands that realise that power and opportunity lies with the customer experience and not the operations team are those who will gain the trust of both their consumers and their board.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here