Episode 1 | 18.12.2023

The Human Behind the Data – Benefits of Treating Metrics with Decency

In this episode, we’re joined by Tom Bourne, Creative Director at Select First. We explore the human stories behind data points and metrics, discussing the importance of treating data with decency. This approach respects individuals and builds consumer trust, ultimately boosting sales.

Listen to the full podcast episode on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.


In the ever-evolving world of marketing, numbers often dominate the conversation. Metrics, data points, conversion rates – these are the terms that typically drive marketing strategies.

However, Tom Bourne, Creative Director at Select First, invites us to look beyond the numbers and see the human stories they represent. In our latest podcast episode, Tom shares his insights on why treating data with decency isn’t just ethical, it’s also good for business.

Data Overload: A Crisis of Trust

Tom begins by addressing a common problem in today’s digital landscape: data overload.

“You sign up for a newsletter, and suddenly, you’re bombarded with emails,” he notes. This relentless approach often leads to a trust gap between brands and consumers. Tom stresses the importance of quality over quantity in communications.

“It’s about treating people with decency… if you send someone four emails in a week, they become just a number in a sales machine.”

Building Trust Through Responsible Marketing

For Tom, the key to effective marketing lies in building trust. He cites Albion, a London cycle clothing manufacturer, as an example of doing it right. “Their emails might not even be product related. It’s about the journey, the story they’re telling. That’s engaging.”

This approach, where customers are valued and not treated as mere data points, fosters long-term loyalty and trust.

The Ethical Integrity of Data

Throughout the conversation, Tom repeatedly emphasises the ethical implications of data usage in marketing. He argues,

“Personalisation based on past purchases and demographic data isn’t really personal; it’s just data mining,”

A more human-centered approach respects the individual behind the data point, leading to more meaningful customer relationships.

Decency in Data

Tom cautions against viewing decency in data handling as merely a tactic to boost sales.

He believes it’s a fundamental aspect of brand integrity. “If you’re a brand that sends lots of communications, you’re missing the point. It’s not about bombarding customers; it’s about engaging them.”

The Bottom Line: Decency Equals Success

In concluding, Tom makes a compelling case for the fusion of ethical integrity and business success.

“Treating data with decency isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also smart business. When you respect your customers, they respect you back, leading to better engagement and, ultimately, better sales.”

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© 2024. The Responsible Edge Podcast