It’s almost the end of 2021 and what a year it’s been. Despite the pandemic disrupting daily life again and again, we have continued to work incredibly hard, providing our clients with our market-leading data products and insight services, and we have seen some excellent results. Here’s a rundown of this year’s significant events and activities.
This year’s highlights
We have welcomed 82 new customers to REaD, providing thousands of data cleanses, customer enhancements and direct marketing campaigns. These include some household brands such as Tesco, Joules, Carnival Cruises, and Animal Friends, as well as many other companies across the many different market sectors we serve.
We want to thank all our new customers and repeat customers (over 300 of you) for choosing REaD Group as your Data Insight, Enhancement, and trusted Campaign provider. We have delivered, on average, 2.5 times ROI target on multi-channel campaigns, with our data cleaning services saving customers, routinely, over £60,000 per campaign from mailing incorrect, deceased or gone-away records.
Response rates on campaigns have shown an increase of over 275% of response rate target with a 50% increase in revenue for our customers. We’ve also created some fantastic life-changing campaigns this year (and even planted 42 trees as a result of out Green Paper).
Our top 5 most used services this year:
- Data cleaning with GAS and TBR
- Direct Mail Data, Execution and Planning
- Data management with REaD Online
- Single customer view
- Customer insight and segmentation
Throughout the year we’ve continuously worked on our products and services to deliver the best possible experience for our customers. Here are just a few of the changes we’ve made.
REaD Enhance: We are imputing data across our REaD Enhance product, our solution for enhancing customer data. This allows the users to gain more value from the product for customer insight, profiling, and data modelling.
Data from social: We are collecting more and more data via social listening platforms that offer clients specific, relevant and timely indicators, giving customers the opportunity to reach more customers.
Pet Data: From age, occupation, income, presence of kids, outdoor space, and local area, we understand pet owners. We are collecting data to understand the profiles of dog owners, cat owners and both, even down to brands of food they buy, to provide detailed insights at a local or national level.
Home Movers: We have more accurate home mover predictions which take into account the local geography, the property size, type and value, and even the conveyancer.
The Cube: We have created a new database, enabling faster loading and aggregation of data, creating more frequent product releases in 2022. Plus, new B2B data will be available via our REaD Online platform in January 2022.
We are proud to report that we are still the most trusted data organisation in the UK! This year we had our regular ISO audit with the auditor seeing: ‘Positive evidence of continual improvement to REaD’s security procedures’, and all planned security objectives achieved.
Data Protection Office
The DPO team have successfully managed, logged, and recorded almost 11,550 DPO enquiries this year without any delays or adverse effects (based on nearly 200m pieces of direct mail sent by REaD’s clients in 2021).
Online Permission Library
Our Online Permission Library continues to receive great feedback from clients. In 2021, we added 33 new clients and conducted 23 demos. At present, we have 101 clients logged as users of the platform.
This year our Subject Access Reporting (SAR) tool was built and delivered, enabling better, more accurate and quicker search functionality for data protection enquiries.
Several new policies and procedures were set up and distributed to contributors to ensure a continual compliance of data supplied to REaD.
What we’ve learned and our predictions for 2022
So what can we expect for the year ahead? We know consumers are expecting brands to understand their needs more and more and they will expect brands to close the ‘experience gap’ even further. Data will play a huge role in the growth of these brands and is an essential piece of the puzzle in helping them to understand consumers’ behaviours, mindsets and attitudes. The focus is shifting to accessibility and actionable insights to ensure meaningful and valuable personalisation that will create lifelong customers.
What other trends can we expect for next year? Here are our predictions for the top six trends in marketing for 2022.
Trend 1: Faster progression towards multi-channel comms
Multi-channel comms is changing, and teams are now looking at data to be used across all channels with the same profiling, models and selections being applied where the permissions allow it.
Trend 2: Customer decision-making driven by sustainability and/or diversity
There is a lot of research, including the DMA’s recent Customer Engagement: Consumer Mindset in Acquisition research, that shows that diversity and sustainability are becoming more important to consumers when deciding which brands to buy from. With a higher profile after COP26, younger audiences are increasingly engaging with green concerns and consumers are demanding that representation is recognised in advertising.
Trend 3: More direct-to-consumer comms and sales from brands in retail
One thing that accelerated during lockdown is some brands engaging directly with consumers rather than relying on their retail estate or sales partners. Retailers created a direct-to-consumer offering quickly and efficiently, and the outcome: a new audience who are loyal to the brand.
Trend 4: More intermediaries in other sectors
Many household brand names in insurance and utilities have almost stopped recruiting customers directly because they rely so heavily on the intermediaries to provide their new customers. Expect to see other sectors disrupted in 2022, such as train travel and the financial services.
Trend 5: Greater demand for improved customer service post-pandemic through automation and AI
The challenge for many brands will be how to fund extra staff after cutting them previously. It is possible that the drive for automation, more realistic chat functionality and AI-based solutions will be the solution.
Trend 6: Finding a balance between localism and impatient nation
While the pandemic revitalised shopping local resulting in a healthier high street, we also invested more in the need to get products delivered to our door as quickly as possible. Together, that creates a very interesting dynamic, a confluence of fast and slow shopping – it will be interesting to follow how the two develop over the next twelve months.
This year, we’ve raised a fantastic amount for our chosen charity, CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) which takes a stand against suicide. By riding bikes, running miles and baking amazing cakes and savoury goods, we’ve raised more than £16,000!
Onwards to 2022…
Year on year, we work hard to provide the best possible service to our customers by offering the most compliant, quality data available. Next year we’ll be continuing to offer the same quality service with the same personal approach. We look forward to working with you again and in the meantime, we wish you a very Happy Holidays.
We are delighted to announce the launch of a new iteration of our market-leading online, self-service data management platform, REaDOnline, including a transformational redesign.
REaDOnline enables brands and businesses of any size – from SME to enterprise – to efficiently and effectively manage and maximise the value of their customer and prospect data. Via REaDOnline, organisations can access the most comprehensive and trusted data available in the UK to validate, clean, update and enhance their data.
To further improve the platform, REaD Group has made a number of enhancements, including a completely redesigned interface, with a fresh and clean look and feel to deliver an enhanced user experience; and improved performance to make the platform more responsive and deliver improved processing capability.
For users, the reporting has been redesigned to provide a clearer top-level summary, while more options on how the results are presented – as stats or visually – have been added. The accompanying job results email will also have a new look. REaDOnline users will also enjoy an improved account area, including access to users, job history, costs and licenses.
“The launch of the new iteration of the REaDOnline platform raises the bar for self-service data management,” commented REaD Group’s CEO Jon Cano-Lopez. “By combining market-leading data with great tech and a user-friendly interface with guided data processing routines, new REaDOnline enables businesses of any size to optimise the quality of their data and ensure they are compliant with data legislation with ease.”
The new platform is now live with user guide and other support materials available to help existing and new users. To find out more about REaDOnline, click here or get in touch with the REaD Group team
Leading data and insight company REaD Group and InfoSum, the world’s leading decentralised marketing infrastructure have today announced a partnership that will make REaD’s UK-wide comprehensive and permissioned database of online and offline consumer data available for brands, publishers and more to discover new insights and improve audience targeting.
InfoSum empowers companies to unlock the full potential of their data by enabling collaboration between data-rich companies. Through a decentralised infrastructure, brands, media owners, data owners and other enterprise companies can connect data without ever sharing it. InfoSum’s identity infrastructure allows REaD to make its accurate, responsible and diverse third-party data available for companies to match first-party customer data to highly valuable interest and behavioural data to enrich their customer understanding. By removing the need to share or commingle any data, the privacy of the end consumer is protected, as is the security of each data set.
REaD’s marketing database is the most comprehensive and trusted source of marketing data in the UK, with hundreds of selectable variables that can be used to create highly targeted and timely campaigns. The database is multi-contributor and permissioned specifically for marketing. It combines hundreds of lifestyle variables covering demographics, interests, hobbies, behavioural and attitudinal insights, channel preferences and geo-demographics to help target campaigns at every level.
In addition, social media and open source data is added to create genuinely unique variables that can be appended at different geographic levels. This insight provides advertisers with the ability to understand how many of their key segments are available to match against media owner first-party data, enabling accurate media planning, without the need to exchange any data.
For the first month after launch, access to REaD Group’s data variables will be provided free of charge by InfoSum for brands and media owners to generate audience insights, providing them with a rare opportunity to see the value of the data set before making a commitment to partner.
Jon Cano Lopez, CEO of REaD Group, commented, ”We are excited to partner with InfoSum and provide advertisers with a privacy-first way to better target their campaigns using a one-to-one match against our comprehensive database. It also ensures publishers can maximise the value of their engaged audiences. We look forward to close collaboration over the coming months as we work with mutual advertisers and publishers on their many use cases.”
Stuart Colman, VP Sales at InfoSum, added: “We’re delighted to have REaD Group make their data available to brands and media owners in a privacy-safe way through InfoSum’s data collaboration platform. REaD Group’s extensive audience insights will enable companies to enrich their first-party data and continue to deliver relevant advertising experiences in the cookieless world, while respecting the trust and privacy of consumers.”
In an exciting industry collaboration, we have joined forces with The Software Bureau, Royal Mail and Mortascreen to launch Clean Contacts, the first data hygiene product for users of Microsoft Dynamics 365, one the world’s largest CRM platforms.
To mark the launch we commissioned a new study which reveals that the rate of data decay has accelerated by 0.5 per month meaning that annual data decay now stands at 37.5 per cent per year due to the impact of Covid on the UK’s rate of mortality and homemovers. In July 2020 the Chancellor introduced the Stamp Duty Holiday to reignite the UK economy following Lockdown 1.0. This has resulted in the most buoyant property market since 2008 with a 10 per cent year-on-year rise in homemovers. Tragically, the pandemic has also led to a significant rise in the UK death rate which is currently running 15 per cent higher than average.
Hosted in Azure, Clean Contacts enables automated batch data cleansing of UK consumer data which enables Microsoft Dynamics 365 customers to identify if an individual has moved home, where they have moved to or if they have passed away. It draws from a pool of over 250 million verified, regularly updated records from ourselves, Royal Mail and Mortascreen.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the first CRM platform to offers in-platform data hygiene making the process less time consuming, more efficient and significantly less risky as the data does not leave the Microsoft ecosytem. Clean Contacts is configured to work within API limits, little storage is required and there is an easy and transparent subscription pricing model starting at £51.75 per month.
Comments Jon Cano Lopez, CEO of REaD Group:
“With the impact of the pandemic on data decay, data cleansing is becoming increasingly important, particularly for organisations that are increasing marketing activity at this time in order to keep customers engaged. That is why we are excited to be involved in this first ever industry collaboration to create a one-stop data hygiene solution for the customers of Microsoft Dynamics 365.”
Continues Lucy Bourne, Partner Development Manager, Microsoft Business Applications:
“We are delighted to welcome Clean Contacts onto the growing global ecosystem of solutions for Microsoft Dynamics 365 customers. The fact that we are the first platform to carry an in-platform data hygiene solutions demonstrates the importance we place on GDPR and best practice marketing. SMEs make up a large proportion of our customers in the UK and this will be a welcome solution for them to be able to clean and update their data quickly and easily – all within the safety of the Microsoft ecosystem.”
For more information please visit Clean Contacts
Riding the subscription wave
Subscription services have always been popular with consumers, but the last twelve months have seen a surge as the world moved to a working from home routine. Now we can get a subscription for almost anything, from toilet paper, food boxes, trendy beers, flowers, cosmetics, and household cleaning products. They know when and how often, delivering weekly, monthly or on a completely personalised schedule to make our lives that bit easier.
Subscriptions and the WFH routine
When we descended into lockdown 1 brands truly went subscription mad. Anything and everything became a subscription service. Brands had to be reactive with the closing of stores and consumers suddenly craved convenience like never-before.
The DMA reported that customers’ interest in subscription-based buying has increased significantly over the last year; consumers are buying more personal hygiene products (15%), clothes (15%), beauty and cleaning products (14%) and alcohol (13%) via a monthly subscription in 2020 – all notable increases. 45% of consumers streamed live television at least weekly, up from 20% in 2017. Netflix even had to reduce their streaming quality to allow for more users at the same time.
REaD Group’s Scott Logie chaired an event on this topic as part of his role on the DMA’s Customer Engagement Campaign. The event shared some research around the surge in subscription during the last 12 months, driven by our change of behaviour in lockdown. There was a discussion with Pact Coffee, who provide a fresh coffee subscription; and Santander Bank, who are using AI and machine learning to remind customers of subscriptions they are paying and may have forgotten about.
A subscription is for life … or is it?
There were several interesting points that came out in the discussion. Firstly, while this surge has been great for subscription businesses, it creates a challenge; what happens when we return to normal? Will people stop using subscriptions as much and create a retention challenge for the brands? Clearly now is the time to be thinking about this and offering the flexibility that will be needed to retain as many customers as possible.
Which brought the conversations on to a couple of other topics. Transparency: it was noted not only in the research but also came through very strongly from the panel that being open and honest with the end customer is vital. Pact Coffee goes as far as to send emails just before each delivery to make sure customers know what they are ordering. This gives them the chance to defer this month’s order, choose something different or even add to the order being dispatched. These are sent out every single day and over 60% of the emails get some form of interaction. They firmly believe that this openness and choice builds loyalty over time. Gone are the days of subscription services using inertia as their main retention policy!
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement to support mental health, suicide and the challenges many of us are facing in this upside world. Every week 125 people in the UK take their own lives, 75% of all UK suicides are male . CALM exists to change this! As an all-encompassing charity, any money raised goes to help fund their life-changing, life-saving services:
- Providing frontline services for men, including a free and confidential helpline and webchat
- Promoting cultural and societal change, enabling conversations and encouraging everyone to speak out about their mental health experiences
- Campaigning for better understanding of the causes of suicide and its prevention
As the 2021 chosen charity for REaD Group we are pledging to raise £5,000 for CALM this year; Taking our three year total raised to £15,000. We are taking on CALM’s Task Me Anything challenge to get the fundraising ball rolling; followed by a REaD Group Talent show and a company event for Acts of Kindness week.
In February our employees will be taking part in a session with CALM to discuss what they do, how we can get involved and how to look out for our own mental health and the wellbeing of others this year.
We look forward to venturing out into the great outdoors for some running, walking and cycling events later on in the year – And we will of course be bringing back the REaD Group Bake off!
For more information check out CALM!
This year REaD Group proudly sponsored the first online Insight in Fundraising Conference ever! Following a day packed with discussions on ‘Insight in a fast-changing world’, we explored the positive potential for insight driven supporter engagement, and addressed the challenges charities faced in 2020.
We heard from a range of charities and organisations; JustGiving, British Red Cross, The Children’s Society, Blind Veterans UK, Wood for Trees, Kew Gardens, National Deaf Children’s Society, St Ann’s Hospice, Lloyds, Sainsbury’s, Action for Children, Kidney Research UK, RNID, Prostate Cancer UK, Cats Protection, Shelter, Scope and Macmillan Cancer Support. All emphasising the importance of accurate data and knowing how to use it.
“In the middle of every crisis, lies great opportunity”
The opportunities were there. With many marketing channels no longer an option, charities had to utilise what they had. More supporters working from home, an increased engagement in direct mail and a huge increase in supporters ‘will to donate’. The foundations were laid out and ready for action! However, the next challenge for charities was utilising the few fundraising channels still available, and, setting the new goals to achieve them. We saw charities offer alternative gifting options, more focus on spending patterns and understanding customers WFH behaviour. Understanding supporters has never been more essential, and this is where customer insight, segmentation and data analysis comes in to its own.
Understanding your supporters and prospects is key! – and ensuring your data is accurate and complient is the way to get there. Many of the charities and organisations above have paved the way for data led marketing in an uncertain time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and data is how to find it.
Already a double award winning project, the Marie Curie Big SHIFT project continues to get well deserved recognition with a shortlist spot in the hotly contested Transformation with Data category in the 2020 DataIQ Awards.
It is testament to the impressive execution and outcomes of the project that has seen it shortlisted together with an impressive list of brands and Agencies, including ekino, JCURV, Looker, Ralph Lauren and Highways Agency.
A genuinely unique and ambitious insight project, the Big SHIFT (Services and Hospices Impacting Fundraising Teams) was the culmination of an investigation launched to understand and model how the provision of Marie Curie’s services on the ground affects localised fundraising performance.
The project used advanced predictive modelling and mapping techniques, using anonymised Marie Curie datasets, Open Source and third-party data.
Mapped income data suggested that a relationship between fundraising performance and the provision of local services existed. The challenge was to model fundraising income at a local level and to better understand the potential for growing fundraising.
The results provided Marie Curie with unique insights, proving that fundraising income is impacted by the charity’s services, and identified powerful links between:
- the location of branded shops and legacy income
- in-home nursing services and hospices and local fundraising
- numbers helped by Marie Curie and donations from that area
For the first time, Marie Curie’s fundraising performance can be related directly to the distribution of its service provisions, engaging and motivating the entire charity.
The insights derived from this analysis have helped Marie Curie to make some key strategic decisions that have transformed their ways of working.
Congratulations to everyone involved for the much deserved recognition and kudos reflected in being shortlisted for this award.
REaD Group CEO, Jon Cano-Lopez commented: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Marie Curie and be involved in this unique and transformative project. The Big SHIFT is a fantastic example of the power of data led insight and team work. We look forward to continuing to support Marie Curie with this and other projects.”
Coming out of lockdown is presenting many challenges for businesses and organsiations of all types. Of course, being aware of your business environment has always been key to success. Knowledge of your customer base at local and national level has in the past been focused on maximising marketing and sales opportunities and operational efficiencies.
You can now add on to this the fundamental requirement of customer and staff safety – how to open and operate safely within a Covid-19 world. And clearly, decisions made regarding the re-opening of business will be key to a responsible and successful emergence from lockdown.
To support businesses to make more informed decisions, REaD Group data partner More Metrics have developed a new set of models to track Covid-19 risk factors. For these models, More Metrics has used its existing and new datasets to create 20 risk measures relevant to Covid-19. The risks cover a number of dimensions, including:
Age and Household Composition
Mortality and Co-morbidity
By combining this data with Ppublic Health England (PHE) Pillar 1 and 2 test data More Metrics have created risk models at a range of geographic levels.
These unique models can help you to answer key questions, including:
- What is the infection risk now in any of the areas that I operate in and where my customers and staff live?
- What is the infection risk going forward in these areas and how might it differ with other areas?
- How should I vary my actions over the coming weeks to minimise any infection risks and help get our operations up and running as soon as possible?
The data will also:
- Provide up to date estimates of key information at local level
- Support risk assessments for reopening customer facing and other business locations
- Support resource allocation and management focus based on reliable data for specific locations
- Allow you to benchmark your own area against other areas in the UK
Part of Rare Consulting’s COVID-19 Emerging Trends Series and with contribution from REaD Group’s Customer Engagement Director, Scott Logie, Grey Expectations: How Brands can Create Sustainable Growth with Consumers Aged 55+ explores why businesses need to get serious about targeting the older generations – particularly online, where many have shopped during the pandemic and now intend to stay.
This means showing more empathy of what marks them out as being different to other age groups; recognising their needs and desires; and understanding their choice drivers. Our findings have implications not just on how we communicate to them but also how we build services that create long-term value for brands and consumers.
“The industry talks about over-55s as being one group. But to treat 17 million people in the same way is madness. Segment and research them as a non-homogenous group of people.“There will need to be some experimentation with customer engagement and experience for this age group, depending on your product type. One of the things they still crave is human experiences. A challenge for retail and e-commerce is to humanise engagement. If they want to chat, they want to chat to a person, about price and options. You can’t yet do that with an automated chat function.”
Scott Logie Customer Engagement Director, REaD Group
Find out how empathy, engagement and customer experience are the keys to marketing to the over-55s