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66 Talk to talk Customer data has never before reached such a revolutionary, step changing scale. Today, dunnhumby analyses the shopping behaviour of 200m households, a huge number that is swiftly heading towards half a billion households. dunnhumby uses this information to target relevant advertising to supermarket customers through quarterly statements, on- line, in- store and outdoor media, as well as fine- tuned messages for the customer clubs. At the moment, while your local supermarket might know what's in your shopping basket, your bank knows what you buy, your mobile company knows where you are and who you speak to, and your favourite search engine knows what sort of holiday you're researching, none of this data is linked together. In the future, companies might start exchanging this data to get a fuller picture of their customers' lives. Imagine for example, if a supermarket linked its shopping information with viewing habits from satellite TV or an internet search engine. This could obviously only happen with the permission of customers, but could lead to enormous benefits for consumers and business. Closing the loop of understanding around media and shopping habits would enable advertisers to see if their TV ads had actually led to a purchase in a supermarket. In turn, this could enable advertisers to beam relevant ads into their living room. Whoever is making sense of customer data is also in the position to manage marketing messages to customers. The accumulation of data from different companies would enable a trusted customer gateway like dunnhumby to send targeted, personalised relevant messages to a mass audience for the first time, achieving Clive's intention of ' mass intimacy.' For example, if Coca- Cola wanted to talk to its customers, personalised advertising could be sent to tens of millions of Coca- Cola drinkers. The holy grail of good, responsible mass marketing. Customers would be grateful too, because it could spell the end of being bombarded by irrelevant advertising. dunnhumby's Rufus Evison suggests that some consumers in the future will log into a ' preference centre' to signal what they are prepared to accept in terms of communications. For example, any colour you like as long as it's any colour you like Customer data has never reached such a revolutionary, step change scale

67 a golden age they might indicate that they like TV advertising, hate direct mail, like humour, want vouchers to be emailed and would prefer a text reminder to their mobile before the vouchers expire. This preference centre enables consumers to edit what information they might receive, while simultaneously ensuring brands are targeting consumers in the way they want. After all, if advertising is done well, it's no longer advertising but relevant information. Indeed, our market research asks a panel of Tesco customers what they think about the advertising on the website, and most say, " What advertising?" All they can see is relevant targeted offers and promotions, so it doesn't feel like marketing. The power of personalisation. Providing these companies act in a responsible and customer-friendly way, the benefits for customers could be immense. It could lead to even more controlled, relevant marketing where consumers are not pestered but thanked with relevant messages and rewards from their favourite brands. A golden age of personalisation, where brands speak to their customers as individuals. Mass intimacy. Because there's no such thing as an average customer. Why is this good for customers? Although the spectre of privacy concerns looms above predictions of what customer data might look like in the future, it's a two- sided story. Yes, of course, it's good news for companies - it means they can take the guesswork out of marketing and start offering customers what they really want. But it also has benefits for customers, for all the reasons we've already described. It means more relevance - more tailored products, services and advertising for customers. It means more rewards - being reimbursed and thanked by companies for sharing data. It means more sustainability - less wasted advertising, less wasted direct mail. It means more customer focus - more companies putting customers at the heart of their strategy. Because they'll realise that being customer- centric makes business sense. Companies like Tesco, Kroger and Casino understand the importance of forming an honourable contract with their customers. They are customer data pioneers who are getting it right. They appreciate that they must offer something in return to say thank you to their customers for sharing information. This will become