Why Retail Marketers Can’t Live Without Direct Data Access in 2022

Not all that long ago, retail marketers probably could have argued that having live, real-time access to their customer data was more of a nice-to-have than an absolute necessity. For enterprise marketers, copying and syncing data up to their ESP created problems, but it seemed like it was just something you had to deal with in email marketing.

As we enter 2022, though, all the excuses for not investing in direct data access have essentially disappeared for retail marketers. For those teams that haven’t taken the step to build a martech stack with your centralized data at the gravitational core, here’s why 2022 is when you need to make that transition.

Consumer expectations keep rising

By now, your customers have seen plenty of great examples of data-led personalization via email, mobile push, and SMS. For enterprise retailers, there’s no excuse you can make for why your team can’t execute those sorts of customer-centered campaigns. The perception is that you have the team, the resources, and the customer base to make it happen.

And every time a customer has one of these great experiences, their expectations for every other interaction rise. As a retailer, you need to always be looking for new ways to meet those expectations. That means personalized campaigns that take into account customer purchases and other behaviors they know very well you can track, especially if they’ve joined your loyalty program. To do that consistently well, having direct access to your first-party data, live within your warehouse rather than a copy in your ESP’s marketing cloud, is a must.

Apple MPP will give you less information

You’ve probably heard about Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) that’s rolling out to users over the course of this year. Maybe you also know that it’s essentially likely to kill the email open as a reliable metric since all emails will be treated as opened for measurement purposes. That means you’ll know less about your customers, and you can’t rely on open tracking or related strategis. The more first-party data you have to make up for that, the better.

You have to ask yourself what customer data you can use for targeting purposes, and how easily you can access it for building audiences. With one less piece of information at your disposal, it’s going to make sense to ensure easy access to whatever else you need to meet customers where they are.

Don’t wait until MPP is fully baked into your customers’ email experience either. Start thinking now about all the data you have access to and how you can ensure you’ll continue to have the analytics you need to measure success.

Your competitors are headed this way

Enterprise retail is incredibly competitive and broad when it comes to fighting for your customers’ attention. You’re not just competing with those in your immediate industry either. You’re sharing the inbox with everyone who’s trying to earn your customers’ business, and they have a finite number of dollars to spend. If you don’t stay front of mind for loyal customers, they’ll drift somewhere that makes them feel more special and known.

In the end, you don’t have much choice as to whether you’re going to get the direct data access you need to send the kind of personalized campaigns they expect. Your competitors are moving in that direction today; eventually, everyone is going to get there. That’s why it’s important to stay ahead of the game. Be the disruptor rather than the disrupted. Take the steps right now to digitally transform your marketing operation by investing in tools that eliminate data syncing and connect directly to wherever your data lives.


Now that we’ve turned the calendar to 2022, it’s never been more important — or easier — to make sure your team has live, real-time access to all your first-party data, hopefully consolidated in a single data warehouse. If you think the moment is right for you, let’s talk today about how MessageGears can help you get there.

About the Author

Jeff Haws

As MessageGears’ Senior Marketing Manager, Jeff is focused on producing engaging and thoughtful content that resonates with enterprise marketers, helping them to better understand how MessageGears makes their jobs easier. He’s passionate about understanding the way data impacts messaging, and he’s also hopelessly obsessed with baseball.