Arnel Leyva Arnel Leyva Global Head of Marketing,
3 Dont's of Customer Data Management

3 Dont's of Customer Data Management

In the age of Big Data, how should companies approach the cultivation, storage and use of customers’ data to deliver personalised experiences? In this article exclusive to the Network, Arnel Leyva, Chief Marketer at, encourages a reassessment of personalisation orthodoxy, suggesting a transparent and respectful approach to data collection that will strengthen customer relationships.

Before the advent of our global economy in which mass production made goods cheap, the Internet made communications cheap, and the volume of goods being shipped through a worldwide distribution network made fulfilment cheap, the authentic customer experience was mom and pop at the general store knowing you and your family—what you bought each week, having those items in stock for you, not gossiping about those lean times when you needed a bit more credit, and certainly not telling your whereabouts to a stranger. In real life, what is personal is also meant to be private. But current Internet doctrine forces us to sacrifice one for the other—getting personalised and convenient services means surrendering data privacy; and keeping data private means surrendering all the conveniences of a digital lifestyle.

In an increasingly fabricated world, authenticity has become a premium. So providing an authentic customer experience - the kind that builds trust and loyalty between your business and your customers because you provide personalization and convenience while respecting privacy - will make every one of your customers feel that you’re giving them a premium service. There are 3 main tenets to achieving an authentic customer experience on the Internet. They seem contradictory at first, but that’s only because we have been so indoctrinated by the current Internet doctrine of personalization at all costs. Because this doctrine is so deep-seated, these tenets are presented as what not to do.


This goes beyond not selling your customers’ email addresses to third-party brokers. It also means knowing every one of your customers well enough that you can tailor offers and ads to their needs, even if you have a limited product or service line. Furthermore, sending emails too often is spammy behavior. Unless you’re a daily deal site, once every week or two is enough. In a digital world that has become increasingly pushy, discretion is attractive.


How cool would new and existing customers think you are if you stopped using web cookies and told them about it? What do you think their reaction would be if they knew that you didn’t purchase third-party data to build dossiers on them? At my company, we’ve found that people become more trusting and willing to give even more first-party data.


Internet marketing doctrine believes in the holiness of Big Data. But the direct and indirect costs that hackers and governmental spying pose are too great to store and secure data that may prove to be valuable. Providing personalized digital experiences is not dependent on knowing customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, or even email. All you need to know are their interests, which you can’t get from PII.

Going against current Internet marketing doctrine to uphold just one of these tenets will increase brand love measurably. Finding a way to implement all three tenets may seem impossible, but it’s not. Successfully doing so will allow you to give customers what they crave most in our increasingly contrived world: authentic digital experiences.