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Getting off the ground and into the clouds needn’t be a weighty task

The thought of proposing an overhaul to a brand’s data provision is enough to make many marketers shudder with dismay. In the all-too-recent past, building marketing databases meant months of work, cost an arm and a leg, and required painful meetings to try desperately to progress through layers of sign-off and agreement that could frequently end up mauling the original goals of a project such that it became impossible for the work to deliver on the vision that had been intended.

This resulted in the familiar scenario for marketers that analysis and targeting in many areas was difficult or impossible, due to lack of IT resource, legacy systems that wouldn’t talk to each other, or inflexible capacity for new analytics and campaigning tasks. Unfortunately, this has real impacts on customer experience as well as organisational agility, as the company struggles to recognise and understand customers across data sources and channels – meaning marketing cannot be well-targeted and omnichannel experience is lacking.

Other organisations face issues with their own fractured structures, for example dealerships, or retail networks; they typically hold a lot of data but it’s siloed and it’s impossible to track customers across the network as they buy or demonstrate interest. There may be regulatory issues that enforce separate record-keeping for each e.g. dealership but that wouldn’t prohibit a group-level data layer being created – yet how to go about setting this up?

Lacking a common data platform is a huge issue – however, often there’s no in-house IT/data expertise to remedy this, and brands with the organisational memory of painful bespoke database set-ups in the past may understandably shy away from a new data venture, fearing that time-to-value will be high and the process resource-intensive and costly.

However, for businesses that are growing in either size, scale or data maturity, the need for a data platform that will cater effectively for their marketing needs is inarguable. At Merkle we understand the need for big data to be collected, ingested, analysed and actioned – it’s part of our DNA, as marketers ourselves. That’s why we designed our Rapid Audience Layer (RAL) solution – it’s an entry-level cloud product that can help you to dip your toe in the waters of the cloud, understanding value with unparalleled rapidity and providing a foundation upon which to build. The CORE of RAL provides clients with everything they need to get started:


  • Automated Data Ingestion
  • Rapid Environment Creation
  • Data Staging (CRM, Digital, Third Party)
  • Standard CDI (matching and linking customer data)
  • Individual Subject Area
  • Analytics Environment


There are also extensions available, to plug into wider data sources or perform more advanced analytics/BI as needed – either immediately or further down the line.

RAL quickly drives to insights – smoothing the process from ingestion to identification to load to analysis, and is fast to set up and deploy. We can help you quickly test and learn in a highly cost-effective fashion, so as to grow as and when the organisation is comfortable. Our aim is always to achieve maximum benefit in the shortest time – so that even completely novice organisations can move to a position of agility in how they draw upon and manipulate the data at their fingertips.

Sound appealing? We’re always happy to chat. Do reach out if you’d like to discuss your data situation

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Or if you’d like to see an example of RAL being used in practice in an organisation that’s using it to get started in the cloud, why not check out our case study of the work we did for a large beverage retailer.

RAL can also be used very effectively to supplement legacy data management services – I’ve written a blog here on the topic. And next month, I’ll be discussing how Rapid Audience Layer can help brands who already have mature and capable data teams at their disposal – do check back in December.