Boots’ mass personalisation drive has prompted a large shift in spend from traditional media to first-party data, according to CMO Pete Markey.

Speaking at MAD//Fest London earlier this month, Markey said that the healthcare and retail brand had a responsibility to “show up in a more meaningful and personal way” during the pandemic. This ethos has been reflected in the changing way Boots invests in media.

“Boots has traditionally focused on mass marketing. Less than 5-6% of media was spent using first party data. Now that figure is over 30%. Data wasn’t at the heart of what we did, but it’s been really important to deliver a step change in the way we look at the business and function,” said Markey.

Markey added that Boots had recorded a big uplift in engagement, brand metrics and performance since it launched its ‘Prescribed Kindness’ campaign. Working with tech partners Adobe and LiveRamp, Prescribed Kindness was set up to show how Boots was helping people, communities and society through the pandemic.

By first analysing searches and considering how Boots could add to the conversation in a relevant way, Boots was then able to use its 'Beehive' internal content studio to create a group of assets at scale.

“This helped us to create different personas and show up for different groups, in different ways, in a more-and-more personalised way. The engagement and response was higher than anything we had previously seen. “The more personalised , the more targeted, the more one-to-one we got, the better the response was,” added Markey.

Over 8,000 people attended MAD//Fest on 7-8 July in-person and via the virtual platform. Speakers included new KFC CMO Jack Hinchliffe, S4 Capital Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell and Resi Founder Alex Depledge MBE.