So you think you know your customer?

Are marketers using their customer data effectively—do they care enough?

Everyone accepts that before design or marketing can successfully capture the attention of its audience, it needs to know as much as possible about them.

After all, you wouldn’t want to try to sell a rump steak to a vegetarian.

Most brands think they’re on top of the issue.

In 2015, according to an IBM survey of 1300 consumers and 250 brands, 81% of brands felt that they consistently delivered a truly personalised and authentic customer experience. 1

However, 78% of consumers completely disagreed.

The vast majority felt no such effort from brands.

So why the mismatch?

It’s likely that many brands lack the wherewithal to gather the accurate, in-depth customer data they need to act in a relevant or timely manner.

Their data may simply be out-of-date. It may be the fault of data-mining, data analysis, list brokering, who knows? Do brands care enough?

Is data a top priority for brands?

2017 will see an acceleration of data-led marketing with more customer focus

In today’s online marketplace there is only one player.


With a market share of over 41%, its next two nearest competitors are kicked into touch with less than 3% each.2

Interestingly from a brand point of view, its founder Jeff Bezos chose the name because of its connotations of ‘exotic and different’; but also because the river was the ‘biggest in the world’.

From its earliest positioning in 1994 as an online bookstore, the brand has grown into the world’s largest internet-based retailer. And the fourth most valuable company in the world.

Analysts will tell you the brand’s growth is attributable to investment and mergers and acquisitions.

Smart marketers will tell you it’s because Amazon understands its markets and its customers intimately.

And the engine that has driven the brand’s phenomenal growth is this understanding, in the form of data.

In 2009 Amazon launched AmazonBasics. A range of essential products such as batteries, cables and homeware. The launch plan had its foundations in sales data curated through the online store.

The AmazonBasics brand now accounts for one-third of online battery sales and is seeing a 93% year-on-year growth.3

Amazon Business was created in 2015 through analysing the office supplies buying habits of other (subsequently competing) businesses. It generated $1 billion in its first year.

At the end of 2016 Amazon’s investment in its own private label products began taking off, competing in over a dozen categories including fashion and computer accessories.

Inspired by Sci-Fi and Star Trek, the launch of Alexa, Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant has now brought the brand into its customers’ own personal space.

Alexa’s voice activation suggests that the product is always listening. How else would it hear its activating key word through its Echo speaker?

So could Alexa ‘hear’ conversation, detect interest, excitement, anger, apathy and real-time responses? Such artificial intelligence has got to be the richest-ever vein of data curation.

A Brave—or scary—New World?

Amazon could be said to be pioneers.

Yet isn’t this what every ambitious brand would like to be doing?

Gathering the relevant data first. And using it as effectively as possible second.

Clearly if IBM’s survey is to be trusted, what brands think they know about their customers falls a long way short of their customers’ own view.

Is it time for brands to refocus on their management of data?

If you’re unsure whether your own business is using customer data effectively enough, call us now for an informal chat.

Rowan (Creative Marketing) Ltd.
Think. Design. Deliver.
01829 771772


  • 1 IBM Amplify, 2015
  • 2 Slice Intelligence, 2016
  • 3 1010data, 2016