It is crucial that marketers find out who is interested in their brand if they are to target their campaigns to the right people and form them in the best possible way, whether they are working in the b2b or b2c sector.

This has always been true – however, techniques for gaining an insight into consumer behaviour have become increasingly subtle and intelligent, making it possible for firms to learn more than ever before about the people who buy their products or services.

Nick Adderly, a former Heathrow Airport marketing director, recently compared the current situation to the past, when early loyalty programmes forged new ground in assessing the relationships people had with brands.

“The cost per member or contact was high, so you could justify or afford to build relationships with high-value customers only where you could make a pay-back,” he explained, writing in Marketing Week.

However, the mobile and digital revolution recorded over the last few years has fundamentally changed how marketers assess the behaviour of consumers, Mr Adderly declared.

Although online was once considered extremely different from offline, buyers are increasingly seeing less of a difference between the two approaches as ecommerce becomes more common.

“Whereas online was once the poorer relation of the customer buying experience, now it’s the best part. Consumers increasingly see no break between the physical world and online. If you don’t respond to this new reality, you will lose,” declared the former Heathrow chief.

But how can firms embrace these changes and utilise consumer information effectively to improve the buyer experience? A host of technological advances have made it easier to do so, ranging from big data analysis to consumer relationship management (CRM).

Mr Adderly cited UK retailer John Lewis as an example of an organisation that is “closing the loop between digital shopper and store visitor, so it can get a better understanding of cross-channel behaviour”.

Marketers and companies that can do this are likely to perform better than their counterparts over the coming years.