Recently, the concept of creating and managing a single customer view database has fallen out of fashion. However, a few things have happened recently that make having a single view of a customer as important today as it always was.

Over the last few years, the concept of creating and managing a single customer view database has fallen out of fashion. For many companies, these projects became massive enterprise-level beasts with spiralling costs. As such, the underlying reason as to why you would want to know which customers transact in multiple ways was lost.

However, a few things have happened recently that make having a single view of a customer, or prospect, as important today as it always was. And this will hopefully help those companies who see their single customer view as an old fashioned offline-only tool becoming central to their full multi-channel engagement.

First of all, there are more ways for a consumer to engage with your band than ever before – signing up to email lists, following on social media, browsing and not buying as well as all the ways to actually purchase from a brand. In general this data does not get loaded into a single view of customer database (SCV), which means that there is a lot of very valuable data that is missing or not being used. However, all of this data is stored somewhere, and almost certainly doesn’t need to be copied and kept in a massive data lake. But knowing that it is the same person on the email list who recently bought is obviously very useful.

Secondly, with the new changes to cookie laws, it is going to be harder to use a consumer’s browsing history to deliver ads or offers. As such, what you know about them as an individual from the engagement they have with you becomes even more important. This is what is called first party data.  At the same time, the permission to engage with an individual across any channel is absolutely vital. The SCV can be a very useful repository for holding not only transactional data but also ad hoc engagement data and permissions.

And finally, but definitely not last, we have the recent changes in law with GDPR, which means that if a consumer wants to know what you hold about them then you have to oblige and deliver back all the information you hold. At present this can be cumbersome for many organisations as the SCV holds a lot of the main data but often doesn’t have any of the social or digital data. Therefore, a lot of work is needed to go and find the raw data in individual systems.

Building connections – real and virtual

One of the previous issues with building enterprise level database solutions for an SCV was the volume of data that had to be copied and held centrally. The prevailing wind today is that holding a copy of all data just doesn’t make sense.  And with the increase of data in the digital world – pages visited, posts, likes, comments and so in – it could be massively cost prohibitive.

In general, what we want to know in the SCV is how people have engaged and where the detail is on that engagement. Having connectors in place makes that much easier. For example, if we have an email address on a mailing list, we can use that to prospect to them.  As and when they buy and we get a physical address we can then connect that email address to a physical household where we also have another customer email address. Ditto with other connectors like IP address or mobile number.

There are now many spine files combining these connectors that are commercially available to help create these connections.

Another key issue is how we determine an individual. Previously that would generally have been a name and address, then an email address and now an IP address or social handle. The truth is that all of this is true. We have to keep our perception of who a prospect or customer is relatively fluid. An IP address is a potential sale even before we connect it to an email address, who is in turn a customer even before we get a physical address to deliver a product.

As such the overall volume of prospects, enquirers, customers and suchlike will increase with the understanding that once the connections are made, the data associated with each will be rationalised. The raw data itself about the connection can reside in the host systems and be used on an ad hoc basis as and when needed.

Keeping data up-to-date – it’s the law

There are many different levels of understanding of what is required under GDPR in terms of keeping data up to date. This isn’t that surprising as most of the concentration to date has been on consent and ensuring that we have permission to contact the consumers we want to engage with.

However, we also have an obligation to keep the data we hold current and clean. And to archive or delete what is no longer needed. In some cases, this has not been considered, while in others it is seen as a lower priority.

However, in GDPR, the advice is very clear: Article 5 requires that personal data be kept clean and accurate (or be deleted!).  As such, choosing a trusted location to hold the key information on your customers, optimise the quality of your data and maximise compliance is now business critical. Tackling GDPR compliance from an SCV point of view isn’t a luxury but a necessity. Keeping the data current, tracking permissions and consent and ensuring that SARs can be responded to quickly and accurately are all part of the new world of data management.

Use the data, don’t lose it

Another crime committed in the name of the SCV was building vast quantities of data into a database, and then doing not very much with it. This feels like the biggest crime of all.

Why hold information about your customers and then treat them all the same? Or know that you have a name on your email list and who buys online yet send them competing offers? Sadly, this happens every day.

Building a single view of customer is not a technology solution, it is a mindset change. The companies who have succeeded in the use of data, for example Tesco and Sainsbury’s, have done so not just by investing in big database solutions (which they undoubtably have) but also by investing in campaign planners and data scientists to mine the data, make some judgements, test theories and operationalise the ones that work.

Again, this is as important today as it ever was, with an increased need to be structured and organised. Just like the data in your SCV.

Scott Logie is Customer Engagement Director at marketing data and insight company REaD Group and Chair of the Customer Engagement Committee of the DMA (Data & Marketing Association).

For more information get in touch with our team at REaD Group here! 

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Why marketing needs a third summer of love!

The original Summer of Love took place in 1967, when hundreds of thousands of people embraced free love, community-based ideals, mind-expanding drugs and what we would now call prog rock. The epicentre was San Francisco’s neighbourhood of Haight-Ashbury but its impact was felt all over the world and it heralded a new era of free expression and respect for social norms. Of course, the counterpoint to all of this was punk, post-punk and the birth of the best music ever made but let’s not go into that here.

The second Summer of Love was 22 years later in 1989 when acid house inspired baggy music and baggy jeans, long nights of sweaty clubs and “illegal” raves, smiley faces, Ralgex, Lucozade and a desperate need to rehydrate. Of course, the counterpoint to that was Oasis, The Strokes, Meanswear and some of the dullest music every made but again, let’s not get into that.

As lockdown lifts…

It feels like we are well overdue another Summer of Love. With the end of lockdown and the opportunity to see friends, meet people, go to festivals, enjoy a drink or three, and just be happy, is it time for a third summer of love? It might be too late for me but I am convinced there is a generation of kids desperate to make this happen, and we have seen evidence of the start of this with huge gatherings in parks and a massive outpouring of relief that people can meet again.

Obviously, this is purely speculation and maybe it won’t happen as a social phenomenon but it should happen from a marketing point of view. We have just come through some of the toughest times as an industry. People have lost jobs, agencies have closed down, we have lost some of the biggest brands on the high street and others are really toiling.

However, there have been a few things that I have seen which gives me great hope that we can not only return to pre-pandemic spend levels but, maybe, supersede these.

Loyalty is key

First of all, loyalty has really come to the fore in the last year. I don’t mean gathering of points and air miles but real, genuine, love for brands, locations and people. I live near a small market town and the way that the community has rallied round the local businesses has been astounding. People have been visiting the town every day even with nothing open. Click and collect is thriving, the coffee shops are run off their feet with takeaways and there have been small markets popping up to sell local produce.

People are choosing the brands, stores and more that they want to see survive and are effectively paying to make sure that happens. I am sure we are not the only household to have bought stuff we don’t really need (clothes to wear for imaginary nights out for example) because we want to have the choice to buy from these places again in the future. Surely this is a sign of real love?

Innovation matters

Secondly, the pandemic has forced a huge amount of innovation. For example, my friend who runs a small brewery had always planned to have a direct to consumer offering but had no need until last summer. Now we can buy direct from him (and we do, regularly) and drink his fine beer at home. Many smaller retailers have done the same. Granted, it was out of necessity but as a result, consumer choice has massively increased. We can spread our love, as it were.

Does this mean the death of the high street? I am not convinced. Clearly it will mean a rationalisation of the high street, but when you see the queues of people outside shops in recent days and weeks, you can see that physical shopping is a hobby for many people and that won’t change. But it does mean much more choice for the consumer and more variety in the ways that we engage with brands.

Engage with consumers where they are

Which brings me to my third reason for hope. Over the last year we have seen a rise in more traditional marketing techniques. For example, the ongoing decline in the use of direct mail has stopped and we saw a small increase in spend in 2020. That’s not a surprise as consumers were at home, some other media channels – such as outdoor and events – had had to stop, and it makes sense to speak to people where they are based.

What I do hope is that it makes marketers, and agencies, consider their audience and where to engage with them rather than just following a trend and the latest thing that is new and exciting. I have heard much more talk of customer journeys, audience segments, matching want and need, and multi-channel approach than in a long time. Marketers have always known that these principles are what should be getting followed but that didn’t stop massive amounts of money being spent on mass targeting through Facebook or Google because it was fashionable.

And, of course, as a data geek, I am always happy when customer knowledge is at the heart of decision making.

When you combine all of these factors, from a marketing point of view we have a fascinating summer ahead. A summer where the loyalty that consumers have shown to the brands they have supported through all of this is rewarded; where brands and consumers can connect directly without the need of an intermediary; and where marketers focus on the people they want to have a relationship with, and embrace them while knowing more about how they are and what they are interested in. Quite possibly the recipe for a third summer of love perhaps?

To find the full article go to – Why marketing needs a third summer of love | CustomerThink 


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The Coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns has seen a boom in pet ownership across the UK, and this has seen more consumer spending on pets than ever before!

Spend on pet food, treats, medicine, insurance, vet care, bedding, toys, day care, grooming and related charities have spiked dramatically, creating a growing opportunity for associated brands.

To support this key trend in consumer behaviour, REaD Group have developed a series of in-depth data sets to support brands who want to target pet owners for relevant products and services.

REaD Group hold data to identify:

  • Pet owners
  • Pet insurance renewal dates
  • Has pet insurance
  • Owns Cat
  • Owns Dog
  • Pet food purchases
  • Animal charity supporter
  • And social media listening to identify those that post about a pet

With our depth and accuracy of pet specific data we can provide a host of insight, enhancement and linking products to help your brand engage and acquire the best customers for you!

To find out more about our bespoke data services go to our pet suppliers page or please contact us today!

Phone: 020 7089 6400

Your data is decaying at a faster rate than ever before – bad data is bad news for your business decisions, marketing campaigns and brand!

Download our latest guide to data cleaning

  • Make more informed decisions and more targeted campaigns
  • Improve campaign performance
  • Reduce campaign costs
  • Improve delivery rate
  • Increase ROI
  • Protect your brand
  • Improve customer perception and brand experience

It has never been easier to manage your data responsibly and maintain a high standards for accuracy and compliance. With a choice of providers and a range of services available to suit any requirements and frequency – managed, self-service, automated, integrated via API for real-time screening – there really is no excuse not to keep your data clean, compliant and ready for action!

Discover REaD Group’s suite of data cleaning products here

Or explore our trusted data solutions here 

Download our guide

And that’s the way the cookie crumbles! 

With the data landscape changing at an immense speed, the news that third-party cookies will be no more by 2022 is BIG NEWS! But let’s not despair. The data bots we use for tracking, measuring and personalisation may not be the be-all-and-end-all for digital marketing.

So, what are cookies? 

Cookies are analytical data stored on your computer, phone or tablet through a web browser to enhance digital experiences for consumers and aid marketers in measuring activity.  Cookies and other tracking assets enable personalisation through adverts and pop-ups by collecting information about consumer behaviour. They come in all different shapes and sizes and enable brands, domains and browsers to tailor what information is presented to a particular consumer based on their data history.

  • Zero-party data – is data that a consumer has proactively shared with the brands, collected through purchasing, or signing up to communications
  • First-party cookies – are created by the brand or website whenever a user visits the site.
  • Second-party cookies – are transferred from one brand (the brand or website that collected the data as first-party cookie) and transfers it to another company via a data transfer
  • Third-party cookies – refer to the data that is collected by a third party (not the brand or webpage). These cookies are typically used for advertising purposes. For example, when you search on a web browser for a red jumper and then the next time you read a blog online, there is an ad for red jumpers? That is based on third-party cookie tracking.

However, giving advertisers, agencies and brands the opportunity to track consumer behaviour has raised concerns. With consumers demanding more privacy and power over their personal data since the introduction of GDPR; laws, regulations and big tech organisations are addressing the way third-party cookies should be used. Or indeed, if they should be used at all.

What are the main drivers pushing changes for third-party cookie tracking?
  • Consumer privacy
  • Browser changes
  • Ad blocking
  • Laws and regulations
Consumer Privacy:

80% of consumers state that they are more likely to spend with a brand that they believe uses their data responsibly. And 70% of consumers say more personal forms of brand engagement such as DM and email makes them feel more valued than third-party cookie personalisation.

Companies that process personal data must comply with GDPR regulations. This means consumers must give consent for their cookies to be used, and by the sound of it, the majority are already looking to brands that use more personal channels of communication.

Browser Changes:

Many big tech companies such as Google, Safari and Firefox are now taking
ownership of their own cookie tracking.

Safari are blocking all third-party cookie tracking.

Google has always allowed users to block third-party cookies. By 2022 all Chrome browsers will block third-party cookie tracking.

Firefox sells itself as a secure browser and as of 2019, blocked all third-party cookies.

Ad blocking:

To date, 30% of internet users already use an ad blocking service. With the rise in consumer privacy awareness, this number will only rise as we move towards a cookie free 2022.

So, what does this means for the future of cookies?

Over the years marketers and advertisers have relied on cookies for website tracking, improved consumer journeys and data collection for ad targeting. The removal of third-party cookies will become a roadblock for many marketers and advertisers, but, it is also an opportunity to build consumer trust and transparency. Businesses should now look to acquire first and zero-party data allowing them to directly identify personalisation preferences and progressive profiling directly from the consumer.

How can you do this in your organisation?

Reach your audiences and gain permission to communicate through multiple channels. To do this, marketers need to understand consent and opt-in options. This builds trust and engagement, ensuring a more open and transparent relationship with a consumer. Use forms to collect data and give consumers the options to choose the channel that best fits them. If they go to unsubscribe, give alternatives for less frequent communication rather than an all or nothing option. And ensure your privacy policies are up to date and accessible for all consumers. For this, explore the use of Trust or Preference Centres (an online portal covering your brands privacy policy, mission statement and a way to communicate trust through first-party data collection).

Overall, marketers need to shift to a privacy-first policy; apply open, transparent, and trusted messaging on how the brand will collect, share and process data moving forward. With the reduction in performance data from online and social media, marketers need to create new strategies to report on customer engagement via browsers, and with a plethora of online metrics suites, this is a walk in the park.

In conclusion – ensure privacy, trust and transparency is now at the forefront of your marketing plans.

Download our guide

For information check out our data and marketing services or get in touch today!

This checklist will take you through how to create your own successful direct mail campaign!

Download Checklist Now

Covering the following:

  • Why you should choose direct mail?
  • How to choose your target audience
  • How to avoid mailing you existing customer base
  • How to set a call to action (CTA)
  • How to decide on the format of a direct mail pack
  • How to determine the campaign look and message
  • Hoe to decide which partners to use
  • How to determine what other marketing activities to run
  • How to tell if your campaign has worked
  • What results you can expect

Benchmarks will vary dependent on sector, but with significant experience in planning campaigns within your sector, REaD Group will be able to provide forecasted response rates, expected average donation values, and ROI predictions for your campaign activity. This allows a level of budgetary forecasting that can be reported to the business ahead of the campaign going live.

Download Checklist Now

Want to find out how REaD Group can help your charity implemented a
highly effective direct mail campaign?
Then get in touch with the team on PHONE or EMAIL.

Here are the 8 questions you should ask when choosing a data provider! 

Businesses need data to survive. And that has never been more true than it is today.

The first party data you collect and hold is an extremely valuable asset – as long as you are applying the right insight! But when it comes to acquiring new prospects and customers, why limit the scale and profitability of your campaigns? If you choose your data partner wisely, third party data can help you to find more of your best customers, drive more informed decisions and deliver ROI.

 54% of business leaders asked believe third-party data is valuable for enhancing the data that they hold in their organization.

The devil is in the due diligence

So, it’s clear that third party data can help businesses to gain even more value from their marketing activity. But how do you find quality data?

As with any important purchase it is imperative to do thorough research. When it comes to buying marketing data you should apply strict due diligence before you select a supplier – or repent at leisure.

Here are some of the qualifying questions you should always ask when you are choosing your data provider:

Source and provenance

How is the data collected and what is the source? You should also ask for confirmation of the collection methods and audit trails to ensure the principles of the regulation have been meet and the data is being processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner.


Your supplier should be able to provide you with the permission statement used at the point of collection.

 Validation and Due Diligence processes

Ask for confirmation of the validation process. A provider with nothing to hide should be able to provide on request an outline of their due diligence process and the steps they take to ensure their data fully satisfies legislative requirements.


When was the last engagement?


Is the data accurate and up to date? Has it been screened against a reliable suppression file to remove deceased and Gone Away contacts to meet GDPR data quality requirements?


Check out their creds and ask peers for a recommendation or ask to speak to an existing customer of the supplier for a candid view.


Ask for some examples of the results and case studies – especially if you are using the data for acquisition campaigns.

Do they offer a trial?

If you are new to buying data or using a new supplier – ask if you can run a trial campaign to test the quality of the data.

If a supplier can’t answer these key questions…approach with caution. It is important to remember that at the heart of GDPR is transparency, accountability and the fundamental rights to process data.  It is the minimum you should expect from a reputable data provider.

About REaD Group

REaD Group have been supportive of the GDPR from its inception and we are proud to say that our due diligence is the best and most thorough in the UK.

All contributors must pass our strict Data Compliance Due Diligence Audit and GDPR rules before REaD Group will accept the data. The audits for existing and prospective data contributors also include the following verifications and checks for compliance:

  • Contributor’s legality, location and contact details
  • Contributor’s Professional membership, accreditations and certifications (ICO, DMA, ISO) registration
  • How contributors deal with enquiries, complaints, data subject access requests etc.
  • Full Permission statement audit including audit of all permission statements, FPN and privacy policies served at point of data collection which are provided in our unique Online Permission Library
  • Details of how the permissioned data was originally captured and channel collection methods
  • Asking suppliers to confirm information security practices and that data is processed in a manner that ensures appropriate security of personal data

REaD Group’s compliance team also carry out 6 monthly audits on the data provided, requiring contributors to provide full details of when and how the data subject’s permission for their data to be passed onto a third party was obtained to ensure collection methods remain compliant and align to the principles of the regulation.

Not all data providers are created equal so choose wisely!

If you’d like to know more about quality marketing data contact us today!

The past 18 months have been anything but easy. Our work and home routines were completely changed and with that, the many people felt their mental health was hugely affected.  In fact REaD Group has been supporting The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) since 2019. But as a charity that supports people who are battling mental health issues, the events of the last 18 months has made it even more pertinent to put our energies into our fundraising for CALM this year.

At the end of last year the charity recorded that the number of people taking their own lives each week hit a high of 94 – and 75% of those are men. To support this incredible charity and spread the word, we decided to raise much needed funds and awareness of this shocking statistic. The 94 Challenge was not going to be an easy one, but the team rallied together and took on some incredibly challenges!

The REaD running club collectively ran 94 miles!

And our very own strong man Adam lifted 94 tonnes!

We also saw the team take on:

  • 94k in a week
  • 94 minutes of walking and running a day
  • 94 miles of cycling
  • 94 press ups, sit ups and squats a day WOW!
  • 9,400m row each day
  • Baking and selling 94 brownies in a week and they were DELICIOUS!
  • No carbs for 94 meals
  • 94 holes of golf in a week
  • Auctioning off a 94×94 painting
  • 94 keepie-uppies
  • No pasta for 94 meals
  • 94 times tables
  • And so much more …

For more information on the work CALM do and how to get involved – click here.

Or to donate to the REaD Group 94 challenge – click here. 

Thank you!




Download event summary

We are delighted to have been a part of this year’s Civil Society Spring Summit, exploring the roles of charity leaders in guiding organisations through the pandemic and re-building for the future of fundraising. The event provided guidance into the key issues impacting charities over the past year and offered insight and new perspectives through downloadable resources, interactive discussions, networking, case-studies, discussion boards and the opportunity to speak one-to-one with sector experts and brands alike.

The over-arching themes  looked at creating a culture of kindness through brand communication, data transparency and risk management at the highest level. The discussions that followed explored governance and leadership in the charity sector. Whether trustees should consider brand mergers to grow as an organisation in the future followed by opportunities for participants and sector leads to discuss case studies and challenges facing the industry today.

Find out more about upcoming events with the Civil Society 

or download our event overview here

For over 30 years, REaD Group have taken the lead in planning strategies and multi-channel communications. Delivering acquisition and retention for our clients using insight-driven recommendations to optimise marketing budget and maximise return on investment. Giving brands the knowledge and services to make accurate, trusted and effective marketing decisions for their brand.

Combining attitudinal, social and opinion data with REaD Group’s comprehensive demographic and lifestyle UK database, and drawing on our award-winning insight expertise, we provide a one-stop shop for multi-channel marketing. Our objective is to provide clients with an in-depth understanding of the UK consumer market using our experience across multiple industry sectors. We specialise in both online and offline channels and understand that no one channel works in isolation:

  • Direct Mail
  • Partially Addressed Mail
  • Door-drops
  • Inserts
  • Email
  • Social
  • Telephone

Our campaign planning services (whether acquisition or retention) ensure a holistic and insight-driven approach. Giving clients the confidence that every pound spent is being optimised in the most appropriate and relevant channels top deliver the best results.

For more information check out our Trusted Solutions Page 

Or get in touch with REaD Group today!