DMA’s Customer Engagement Labs Hackathon. What we learnt.

Recently, we had the pleasure of attending and sponsoring Data & Marketing Association’s (DMA) day-long hackathon style event – Customer Engagement Labs, held in sunny Stratford. The day invited professionals across data, tech and creative disciplines to work together and respond to a detailed brief outlined by Transport for London.

We then had a really insightful talk from the Digital Comms Team Manager at Transport for London. He explained how their customer base was extremely large which encompasses the likes of daily commuters, tourists and families to name but a few. All of whom travel for completely different purposes and via a range of methods such as the tube, the iconic red London buses, DLR and even the Emirates Air Line Cable. TFL are empowered by their mission statement that ‘Every Journey Matters’ and that this mantra reverberates through everything the brand does, including how and why they connect and communicate to their customers.

The Mayor of London’s business goal by 2041 is to ensure 80% of all trips within London are made by foot, by cycle or by using public transport, as well as having the latter methods of transport being the most efficient way for people to travel distances that are too long to walk or cycle. There is a secondary goal to get Londoners to do at least 20 minutes of active travel each day in order to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

Our brief was to use open data (supplied by TFL) and social media channels to ultimately raise awareness of TfL’s active travel programmes as well as increasing the use of off-peak public transport. We needed to consider how we could use the data to devise a creative campaign, that would ultimately change customers behaviour significantly enough to alter their travel habits, in order to meet the brief’s objectives, which is also constrained to a moderate budget.

We were split into three groups that all had a mix of data strategists, creatives and marketing specialists and regrouped throughout the course of the day to ensure we were on track and that each group’s ideas would differ from the other. We could consider tech and data (such as how live travel information is provided by TFL and how they make this available to powerful apps such as Google Maps and City Mapper). We also had to consider ease of use of customer payments through the likes of Oyster cards and contactless. One element that was paramount across all groups was the significance of shifting thinking of customers’ perception of travel, making it enjoyable and what the mental health benefits of 20 minutes travel each day would bring them.

In our group we understood we needed to look into the audience and business strategy, as well as the data available. We split our group according to our specialities. We had two data analysts in our team as well as myself and a marketing comms director.

We then had to plan our response to the brief, taking into consideration:

– Where are we now?: What do Londoners currently think, feel, say and do? By understanding their behaviour, we could begin to think about changing their behaviour and any barriers to use of TfL’s facilities.

– Where do we want to get to?: What do we want them to think, feel, say and do? (defining the objective further).

– How to get there?: Who? What? Where? When? How?

We understood from our data and audiences behaviour review that this giant database of Londoners travelled for different reasons (cost/convenience for example) and that the way they travel would vary based on their individual situations. A commuter would want to get from A to B as quickly as possible (ideally as cheaply as possible), but a young family visiting a central park would focus more on travelling as safely as possible and ensuring they can take a pushchair with them for example.


We wanted to find a solution that would educate consumers, giving them easy access to TfL’s network of travel options in order to plan their visit based on their travel needs and do so using TfL’s technology.

We devised an extension to TfL’s existing platform that would allow users to select their destination and the reason for travelling (i.e. I need to get there as quickly as possible – time poor) (I’m dressed up – Don’t want to walk), that would serve the user and their route accordingly. We also included an option to invite friends to use the platform, allowing them to enter a meeting point and serve different ways to get there. This would also show local restaurants/bars and so forth to allow for a commercial opportunity for TfL to partner with companies to allow them to appear on their route planner.

We then included a simple social media competition to have people use #everyjourneymatters to increase awareness on a broader scale.

Our strategy met the brief objectives as well as being easily trackable and cost effective.

By the close of the day each group presented three diverse ideas aligning their pitch to data, creativity, the use of tech and of course measurement of effectiveness. The judging panel comprised of representatives from one of Pure360’s customers Read Group, several people from TFL and our Marketing Director, Komal Helyer.

What was great was the questions the panel asked and the understanding of how the ideas could be improved to align further with the brief and TFL’s business goals. It was so insightful to learn the different ways to apply tech and data interpretation to a creative brief. DMA put on a fantastic event and I encourage everyone to sign up and attend their next one.

Alice Garside

Customer Success Manager