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NHS data sharing – lessons for consumer brands

Consumer Marketing Data

Plans to share patient data have been put on hold by the NHS following acceptance that they did not explain the project well enough.  Meanwhile, many brands (including banks and mobile operators) have data monetisation programmes underway.  Are there lessons to be learnt from the NHS project?  What are the key opportunities available for brands and how should these be pursued?

Many companies are becoming aware of the opportunities embedded within customer data but fewer are commercialising it – internally and externally.  Internal strategies can focus on use of data to drive more repurchase and extend contracted services.  External ones seek to create new revenue streams from third party organisations.  For large organisations with many separate lines of business, there is also an intermediate level – intra company monetisation, where one product business gives another one access to their customers.

Usually, it pays to focus on internal monetisation first, then to look externally.  This minimises the potential for cannibalisation of your own data assets.  Usually, greater value can be generated by selling a unit of your own product rather than receiving a commission for a third party making a sale.  Some organisations stop after scoping internal opportunities, in effect sitting on ‘waste data’ that just gathers dust and eventually decays.

Questions to consider include:

  • What consumer behaviour data do you have, eg purchases, clicks, locations?
  • What ways do you have of identifying customers, eg email addresses, phone numbers, social logons, device IDs and cookies?
  • Do you know how often and how recently customers have been transacting?
  • Permissions.  This is really crucial.  Not just the DPA/statutory obligations but also the granular details on exactly what customers have opted in for, whether it be by phone, on web page or agreeing to specific uses of cookies.

Arguably the NHS tripped up on this last area as they had not been gathering permissions and setting consumer expectations from the outset.  Instead they attempted a ‘bulk opt in’.  When working with clients on such projects, we find this is usually one of the first areas to focus on – what different levels of customer opt in exist across the base?  This has a big influence on the size of the commercial opportunity for external monetisation.

NHS Blog

Some of our clients are generating significant value by monetising their data every year as a result of working with us.  If you are interested in finding out more about monetising your data, drop me a line at

Author: Paul Kennedy

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