Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Controlling data wastage: Tips to make data work harder for improved customer experience through the cost of living crisis

By Andrew Stephenson, Director of Marketing EMEA & India at Treasure Data

The cost-of-living crisis is showing no sign of abating. With prices rising on everything from energy to houses to milk and eggs, to say consumers are “stretched” is an understatement.

It’s no surprise then that many consumers are changing how they shop – from spending more carefully and prioritising value-for-money, to downgrading how important certain products are to them.

Our research has found that Brits are increasingly re-categorising products they once considered essential as “nice to have”, with the sectors most severely affected by this shift being retail, entertainment and media, travel and hospitality. Needless to say, this makes for a challenging marketing environment – especially for those high risk sectors. Few consumers are thinking about splashing out on new products.

Yet at the same time, shoppers have high expectations of the brand communications they receive. Eight in ten believe campaigns should be adapted to be more sensitive to customer’s changing priorities and needs.

The situation calls for an urgent investment from brands in how they use data to better reach the right consumers through sensitive communications in this exceptionally challenging marketing environment.

The wasted data undermining marketing efforts in a difficult climate

Marketers aren’t blind to the need to get communication right in this context, in the UK 73% of them claim to have changed their marketing strategies as a result of rising prices and cost of living challenges.

But as marketers adapt to changing consumer needs, and look for ways to justify spend and investment, current customer data practices are undermining efforts, highlighting an unfolding customer data emergency. In fact on average, marketers believe they waste 31% of their budgets due to poor optimisation of data.

With budget cuts on the horizon for many, this is spend that marketers can’t afford to waste. So, what can marketers do to make data processes more efficient and put a stop to wastage?

Communicate the value exchange

One often overlooked form of inefficient or wasted customer data is the data that is never collected in the first place. Brands have a job to do to build trust with their audience to encourage the sharing of valuable insights.

Our research found that winning this trust is a steep hill to climb. A quarter of Brits said they sometimes give false data about themselves and a whopping 47% deliberately try to withhold their personal data from brands. That’s equivalent to over 25 million UK consumers who are trying to actively avoid brand communications.

The reluctance to share data is understandable when so much mystery surrounds where it goes and what brands use it for. Building trust will rely on brands communicating the value exchange at hand – a vastly improved experience in return for willingly sharing personal data.

Brands must ensure that consumers understand that they will get a reasonable deal for this sharing – whether that means not receiving irrelevant ads, only getting ads for products they can feasibly afford or having the amount of ads they receive capped at a certain number.

Eliminate organisational silos

Three quarters of marketers also know their team has customer data inefficiencies or blindspots which will hinder their marketing efforts during the cost of living crisis. Marketers in financial services and IT – two of the sectors that feel the most pressure to deliver ROI – are those who claim to suffer most sharply from customer data inefficiencies.

Often these inefficiencies come from data that isn’t properly connected. There’s little value in a vast pool of data if the internal teams within a brand aren’t fully joined up. Brands must act swiftly to eliminate silos and create effective channels of communication – or risk critical intelligence about their customers and operations hiding in plain sight.

Invest in the necessary tools and empower teams with the knowledge required to use them

Worryingly, the majority of UK marketers also don’t feel properly equipped to get the most out of the data they use for marketing campaigns.

It’s imperative that marketers are properly equipped to turn unintelligible data points into meaningful insights. But building a comprehensive and effective data management strategy doesn’t have to mean doing everything from scratch – there are a vast array of tools out there with the infrastructure ready made to make data efficiency easy.

An ideal data management strategy is a perfect marriage between the right tech and a properly trained team to make the most of it. Brands need to invest in the right tools and make sure employees are trained to get the most out of their data with confidence.