1. tesco

Tesco Clubcard Play – a step towards VRM?

Written By , 4 years ago

There’s a really interesting piece in Marketing Magazine today about Tesco’s plans to give consumers more control of the personal data that Tesco holds.

Tesco has been at the forefront of data-driven CRM for nearly two decades and we think that this is a move with potentially huge implications.  It is recognition of the fact that personal data is going to be the battleground on which marketing wars are fought, whether forced by legislation (like the UK’s Midata project) or consumer pressure and desire to Opt-out).

From the article:

Tesco is to hand consumers control of data on their own shopping habits for the first time, in an attempt to make its Clubcard scheme more transparent.

It plans to develop products and games to give Clubcard-holders “simple, useful, fun” access to their own data, to help them “plan and achieve their goals”. The retailer’s aim is to build personalised access to customers’ own “data capability plans”.

Tesco will also explore ways in which games could create new media opportunities for brand-owners, as well as further marketing opportunities for its own business.

The initiative, known as Clubcard Play, comes just weeks after the government closed its ‘Midata’ consultation – a partnership with consumer groups and businesses, set up in 2011 to give consumers the statutory right to access the data companies hold on them.

However, a Tesco spokeswoman insisted its plans were not connected to Midata, as it had been thinking about how to give customers access to Clubcard data ‘for some time’.

Although it has not yet revealed wider details, Marketing has learned that Clubcard Play will be trialled with “rapid testing and piloting”.

There is a lot of talk about the gamification of data, to encourage consumers to engage,” said Justin Basini, ex-Capital One marketing director and founder of Allow, a service that helps consumers gain control of their personal information.

What has stopped a lot of companies is the concern that people will get freaked out by how much data is held on them. Due to the sheer volume of data involved in Clubcard, if Tesco mucks about with it or takes a mis-step, this could prove risky,” he warned.

Is this a step towards VRM?

Not exactly.  True VRM – fully taking control of your personal data – requires a ‘4th Party‘ to hold the data.  A company that ‘owns’ a lot of data about you ceding some control of it back to the individual is not this.  It is however a distinct shift of power to the consumer: an admission that the rules are changing.

The ‘gamification’ aspect of the Play initiative is intriguing, we’d like to see how this is executed.  It’s possibly a way to get around the differing levels of desire for choice and control by consumers: not everyone wants to be making decisions about their data.

Allow, whose founder Justin Basini is quoted in the article, is a true 4th Party.  Although marketed currently as an insurance product against identity theft, Allow is in a very interesting position that could easily see them morph into a fully-fledged VRM company.  Personal in the USA is a similar company to Allow and also worth a look if you have an interest in this fast-developing area.


Marketing Magazine article – behind log-in but the text is in this post
Allow – UK personal data service (marketed as ‘insurance’)
Personal – USA personal data service
Midata – BBC article on UK Government plans for reform of personal data access
Project Manager – My Data – Job specification for role working on this project at Tesco Head office.  Apply before 17th October!


More entries in

  1. Strategy & engagement

Next Entry

Leave a Reply