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Best Practice Case Study: Pets at Home - Personalisation in Marketing

Why take the view of one marketing operations specialist when you can have three? Keen to maximise the advice and views we have for our MOps audience, Karla Wentworth, Simon Daniels, and Holly Gage join forces to write down their thoughts on some of the breaking news in the industry.

This week we tackle a recent article published in Marketing Week featuring the impressive recent growth of Pets at Home, for which is credits ‘personalisation’ in marketing. Personalisation is no new technique, but as any marketing operations colleague will know, good personalisation is a combination of strong creative but most importantly, great data! Data management, quality and execution sit squarely in the MOps function and our specialists share their thoughts.



A company sends some great emails and improves sales figures. A simple marketing campaign right? That is until you dig into the detail of the campaigns. This is a company that deals with a customer, who is not the consumer, where there are potentially multiple consumers of different personals in the household, but is however responsible for the acquisition, distribution and satisfaction of the product. Plus with over 27 million pets in the UK, we are most certainly a nation heavily invested in our furry friends. Managing a campaign with so many data variables in an emotive arena is tricky and, with so many variables, could easily contain inaccurate or missing fields which would invalidate the content of the campaign but could more worryingly, cause disengagement if not executed accurately. Pets at Home collect sales information as you’d expect, but also collect data from customers connecting to their Wi-Fi in store and in addition, purchase 3rd party data. There is going to be some serious data management in there. Often overlooked by true creative marketers, ensure the data is available and high quality is absolutely paramount to a digital campaign.

I loved reading about the success of Pets at Home and from personalisation, but I can’t help but hope that we could hear a bit more about how they managed the data. In a recent conversation with Simon Daniels, we discussed how data (and insight) was often considered at the end of a campaign when it was time to review results. But our conversation focussed on how important it was to have your data discussions right at the beginning of any campaign, even before a creative is considered as some of the data help might influence the create or prevent wasted effort if the existing data cannot support certain elements of a creative idea. And that, in turn, will allow you to plan your data management, governance, and quality. Data is unavoidable but quality data and strong data management for Martech can (and is often) executed poorly. Have a think about your data management process and how it influences your creative and comms strategy and the tool you use to execute campaigns.



This is a great example where the sizzle of creative, relevant and timely communications is driven by data, which is almost certainly quietly and carefully orchestrated by MOps behind the scenes! Long before hitting send, I’m sure, Marketing Operations would have been engaged to determine available data for driving the campaign personalisation, and maybe even before that to determine what could be collected to support future activity. Then the relevant attributes can be captured so that the necessary selections and segmentation can be built into the campaign program on whichever platform is being used.

Of course, too often, MOps are consulted at the last moment, when creative, content and messaging is ready and the “who shall we send it to” question is raised almost as an afterthought. This is a route to a poor outcome, where the data specialists or team involved can’t do their best work, which is frustrating for everyone involved. It looks like that didn’t happen here, so kudos to Pets At Home!



Marketing Automation companies have long been touting personalisation as being one of their core capabilities, a basic piece of functionality that every marketer should be engaging in. Everyone else is doing it, so why aren’t you? Want to increase revenue, improve your customer experience, engage your audience? Better get personal. However, my experience is that most marketers are doing little to no personalisation and more often than not it’s because their data is not in a usable format. Multiple disconnected systems often lie at the heart of the problem. So marketers steer clear of anything other than very basic personalisation because they don’t trust their data.

It’s inspiring to read about a company that has been able to successfully use multiple data sources to drive personalisation. For companies that want to test the water with personalisation and want to get creative, I think that surveys can be a great way to collect insights that can be used to personalise engagement. Of course, this adds a new data source to your existing structure but survey data tends to have a limited lifespan and offers a different dimension, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be integrated with the rest of your data. This is where marketers and marketing operations really have to work hand in hand.

If you have any thoughts on personalisation or would like to know more about how to increase ROI based on personalisation programs, drop us a line and one of the experts (or all of us) will be happy to help you.

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