Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Customer data wastage undermining efforts to adapt campaigns amid cost-of-living crisis 

Three quarters (75%) of UK marketers openly admit to knowing that their team has customer data inefficiencies hindering their marketing efforts during a time when brands must pivot and manage changing consumer needs. 

That’s according to the latest research commissioned by enterprise customer data platform, Treasure Data, which also finds that marketers believe they have wasted on average 31% of their budget or the equivalent of £1.6 million in the last six months due to poor data optimisation. 

This comes as the impact of the cost-of-living crisis is showing up starkly in Brits’ consumption habits, with consumers increasingly re-categorising items once considered essential as “nice to have”.

The sectors most severely affected by this shift are retail, where some 35% of Brits have downgraded products, entertainment and media (also 35%), and travel and hospitality (30%).  

And consumers expect brands to get their response right. An overwhelming majority (83%) of Brits think marketing campaigns should be adapted to be sensitive to consumers’ changing priorities and needs during the cost-of-living crisis, and almost two thirds (63%) believe they should be marketed to less altogether.  

Marketers do recognise the overwhelming need to be sensitive at this time, as three quarters (73%) report changing their marketing strategies in the face of rising prices and cost-of-living increases, but the majority (61%) don’t feel properly equipped to get the most out of the data they use for marketing. 

Andrew Stephenson, Director of Marketing EMEA & India at Treasure Data, commented on the research: “Our research has revealed that the cost crisis has put brands in a very difficult bind – shrinking budgets, an audience with less spending power and high consumer expectations. There is an urgent challenge at hand; consumers want marketers to adapt their campaigns to be sensitive to their changing priorities, but marketers are hamstrung by slashed budgets and inadequate data management strategies. 

“Marketers have no time to waste when it comes to making their data work harder for them – only by increasing their data efficiency will they be able to make better decisions in the volatile context of the cost-of-living crisis. Ultimately, it’s those who get to grips with the unfolding customer data emergency – and stop it in its tracks – which will be best equipped to properly engage with their audiences and swim rather than sink over the coming months.”

The need to stem data wastage and improve media efficiencies is quickly becoming urgent as budgets are shrinking again. Almost two thirds of marketers (65%) have had to make  cuts to budgets as the cost of doing business rises, and a further 65% are predicting more cuts to come. 

And despite operating with smaller spend and holes in their data management strategies, the expectation for marketers to deliver demonstrable results for their business continues to grow. Most marketers (72%) believe the cost-of-living crisis has led to increased pressure on them and their team to deliver ROI/ROAS.