In the quest to create personalised communications for large audiences, most businesses find themselves in the middle of a spectrum that progresses from crawl, walk to fly.

That’s according to Richard Taylor, senior digital strategist at full-service agency Spinach. To get closer to the pinnacle, where in-the-moment and personalised communications is fuelled by actions a customer has performed, there’s some homework to be done.

Mass personalisation is only possible with the help of data and Spinach’s general manager and media director Ben Willee explained that not all data is created equal: businesses need to prioritise first-party data.

Third-party data is data acquired from outside sources that does not have a direct relationship with the user the data is being collected on. Willee explained that these aggregators purchase large amounts of data and categorise people demographically, psychographically and behaviourally.

“We have a pretty significant problem with this third-party data. It's increasingly out of date or just plain inaccurate. There are no global guidelines, there are no rules, there are no agreed approaches on how to collect third-party data. It is not what you expect it to be. Often, in fact, it’s something else. What we're saying is, be very, very careful of third-party data,” he warned the Mumbrella360 audience in Sydney.