Six brands that are using data to drive business success

Sure you can capture, measure and analyse traffic and how visitors behave on your site, but what’s the next step?

How can you turn this information into achievable means to help optimise your website, increase conversion, improve personalisation and provide excellent customer experiences?

The conversation is no longer about how and why data is essential. It’s about how data is being used to drive success.

To reflect this shift Marketing Week team has rebranded its annual Data Strategy Awards as the Data Storytelling Awards and has launched a sister conference dedicated to sharing data’s success stories.

Data Storytelling Awards banner

Taking place on 10 September attendees can hear valuable insight from the UK’s biggest brands, all sharing their stories of how they have used data to win in their market and why it underpins their strategy.

Then in the evening, 16 Digital Storytelling awards will be given to the very best examples of individuals and companies using data to activate and execute strategy, drive loyalty, develop new products and provide excellent customer experiences.

Join Marketing Week to gain invaluable insight from some of the UK’s biggest brands as they share how they have used data to win in their market, and why it underpins their strategy. Find out more.

In the meantime here are six excellent examples of data storytelling to inspire you.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie provides care and support for more than 40,000 terminally ill people and their families in the UK each year and earlier in the year it launched one of its biggest campaigns yet, The Great Daffodil Appeal, aiming to motivate people to collect money for the charity on the high street, through data driven personalisation.

A launch email was sent out that took a supporter’s postcode data (or their current geolocation if they didn’t provide the postcode) and matched it to Marie Curie’s database of collection sites. It then pulled in a personalised map detailing each individual supporter’s nearest collection sites into the email in real-time.Marie_Curie

Marie Curie then used modelling to derive a target population and also to drive specific persona driven messaging based on collection history and previous interaction with the charity.

The initial results were encouraging. Registrations were up considerably YoY with a high skew towards online sign ups, thus proving the positive impact of the charity adapting to the digital world.

You can read more about the campaign here: How digital transformation improved Marie Curie’s marketing strategy.


Due to increases in population and pressure on the underground network, TfL was looking to move travellers from the tube onto other modes of transport which may be quicker or more comfortable.

To do this, it needed to create a responsive site that would work on any device and bring together data, live updates and location-based services for TfL’s highly complex public transport network.

It also needed to educate customers that there were better alternatives to the tube including buses, bikes, boats and walking.

The ultimate challenge was how do you show a customer the information they came to find, but inform them of a better way of travelling and persuade them to take the alternative?

Work began on three screen size prototypes, instead of trying to develop a responsive prototype that would have had too many technical restrictions and hampered the richness of the final service.

A great deal of the interface work for mobile had to be designed without past reference as TfL was solving problems that had not been tackled by anyone else before. Taking a lean UX approach and validating with customers on a regular basis helped to speed up the design and decision-making process.

One key feature of the new site included ‘Near me’ which gave the customer a quick view of all of their transport options based on their location, with times, availability and one-click planning options.


In the first ten weeks since launch, 250m pages of content were viewed during 50m visits from 20m people.

The fully responsive design drove mobile and tablet usage higher than ever before, with around 54% of visits overall, rising to 65% at weekends.

The improved user experience has also been widely praised and visits to the Journey Planner have increased by around 10% overall since the new site was launched.


O2 was looking to drive new customer acquisition for its prepay SIM product, but was up against a highly competitive backdrop of real-time display advertising.

By profiling its audience based on data collected directly from the O2 website, and modelling this against a real-time picture of the web, the mobile network was able to find and target new customers who had not previously engaged with the O2 website.


O2’s in-house agency Mediavest recommended using Quantcast’s real-time display advertising solution as part of a multichannel approach to acquire new customers.

By placing Quantcast tags on the confirmation page of O2’s website, the mobile operator was able to obtain an up-to-date profile of the demographics and online interests of its top customers.

This data was matched against a dynamic map of audience behaviour across the web in real time, to find and reach the closest matches. It used predictive intelligence to identify suitable prospective customers.

These audience insights were fed into both prospecting and retargeting tactics to tailor ad delivery to the unique conversion path for each individual consumer.

As a direct result of the campaign, more than 90% of the people identified and targeted were new to O2, and the company consistently beat its CPA goal by up to 25%.


After redesigning its mobile site, part of which involved a significant change to the navigational structure, fashion retailer Topshop wanted to make sure that any new mobile visitors were made aware of this change and could find the menu as well as navigate to other parts of the website using it.

Topshop also wanted a way of testing whether several small changes to its product page would have any positive effects before allocating extensive IT resource to it.

Topshop changed its homepage and, using real-time feedback, highlighted a number of areas for improvement.

A navigational pointer was shown to new mobile users on their first visit, showing for five seconds as they entered the site. The pointer highlighted where the new menu was, helping visitors navigate to other pages.


Using this data alongside the qualitative feedback, Topshop designed four different search variations, testing both changes in copy and the addition of a border to the search box. The test was split evenly across all users.

Topshop tested changes to the size selector, the ‘details’ and ‘delivery’ tabs, the ‘added to bag’ confirmation pop-up, and buttons such as the ‘size guide’, the ‘add to bag’, and the ‘check stores’.

The new mobile layer resulted in a 4% increase in products added to baskets, while the search bar generated a 5.8% increase in conversions. The product page changes generated between 9-11% increase in conversions.

Farnell element14

Farnell element14 is a global distributor of electronic components that had a customer perception issue to address.

While its products were competitively priced, a recent customer satisfaction survey had highlighted its customers weren’t aware of this and showed negative sentiment towards its pricing. The company wanted to develop a personalised email campaign, specifically aimed at changing customer perception on pricing.


The mobile-optimised email campaign required a team effort across the pricing, analytics and marketing teams, to ensure the data being used was robust, accurate and real-time.

Customers who had in the last three months bought more than one product, now reduced in price, were included in the email data selection. Those recipients could see the products they had bought, what they paid last time, what the cost would be now and what the line saving was.

The content was translated into 20 languages and each customer received a personalised email in their local language and currency.

A unique tracking code was dynamically added to each of the personalised products promoted for every customer, enabling Farnell element14 to track clicks and ROI.

A follow-up email campaign was also developed promoting products from one key supplier which had its prices reduced. This email was deployed 11 days after the first email went out.

The first email achieved a 13% conversion rate, while the second follow-up email campaign saw that double to 26%. The results exceeded European averages.


Homebase wanted to engage customers with personalised targeted emails to boost email open and click-trough rates (CTR) to drive campaign ROI.

Its email marketing previously concentrated on driving conversions with voucher code offers. However Homebase needed to shift its focus from converting prospective customers to encouraging people to consider Homebase prior to making a purchase.


It did this by identifying newsletter subscribers who had specifically shown an interest in kitchen products and, once identified, target those customers with a series of triggered follow-up emails with clear calls-to-action (CTAs).

The ‘Kitchen Trigger’ programme saw open and click-through metrics up to 20% higher than typical email campaign results.

Overall 48% of recipients booked in-store appointments, with an average conversion from appointment to final purchase of approximately 40%.

Find out more about the Data Storytelling Conference & Awards.

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