Customer insight giant merges with leading transactional data provider


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Customer insight and database management firm CDMS is undergoing a radical restructure as it rebrands under the Transactis name and merges its operations with those of the transactional data provider that it bought less than a year ago.

The merger of the two operations combines their complementary services and assets to create a powerful new offering. The new combined entity brings together the scale and range of secure database marketing capabilities that CDMS has established – it handles 1.5% of all UK mail and 7% of all B2C mail – with the retail transaction data pool Transactis has built through the 160 home-shopping and online brands that make up its membership.

The new Transactis (, whose clients include Nationwide, Betfair, HM Revenue and Customs, Damart and Shop Direct Group, is also unveiling a combined management team and new business focus. Data will be at the heart of the company’s activities, although it will continue to extend its print and mail business as Transactis Document Solutions, a division of the new merged operation.

The new Transactis offers its clients:

• Insight based on transactional data
• Transactional prospect data
• Innovative technology
• Data and database management
• Graphics, image management and catalogue production
• Bills, statements and customer communications
• Campaign management
• Campaign execution

David Steele will spearhead the new Transactis’ development in the data and direct communications marketplace as chief executive of the merged business. Steele, who joined CDMS in June, brings a strong record of business development in the customer loyalty, consumer insight and retail data world through his background as a senior executive at customer insight specialist dunnhumby. Steele has 15 years’ experience in customer loyalty and relationship marketing and was most recently managing director of retail at dunnhumby in the UK – leading its commercial relationship with Tesco – and general manager of its Ireland operation.

Steele explains that CDMS decided to adopt ‘Transactis’ as its brand and identity because the name encompasses the direction that the company is taking: “Our services are geared towards turning clients’ transactional data into actionable insight, and then using that understanding to enable clients to set customer strategies, deliver engaging communication and drive business profitability.”

He adds: “The Transactis data pool and customer transactions coupled with their reputation and industry profile makes Transactis the logical identity to take us forward.”

Chris Morris, the former managing director of Transactis who launched the company in 2004, will remain with the business as a non-executive director. Morris will continue to work directly with Steele – and with Transactis clients – as a key advisor.

Morris comments: “By putting the activities of the two operations together, we can extend services to both our clients and our members to boost their insight, targeting, digital print and delivery capability. That’s what the market wants.”

Steele and his management team lead a company that has won a number of awards for cutting-edge work in database marketing and communication over the past year, including top data and retail industry honours for work with clients Betfair, HMRC and Shop Direct. The new Transactis will be jointly based across two sites in London and Liverpool.

Steele notes: “Both CDMS and Transactis have strong data service offerings – exemplified in the industry awards won over the past year or so. We want to optimise these capabilities by fully integrating the two operations into a single, focused unit that continues to deliver innovative and efficient service to our clients.

“In a very tough economic climate, successful organisations need to really understand their customers’ needs, preferences and behaviour. By integrating the wide range of skills and assets available within our organisation, we are improving our ability to help clients do that more effectively.

“The data-led approach is central to our new strategy – enabling clients to realise the benefits of highly targeted, relevant communications, using our best-in-breed execution platforms to combine traditional print and mail with digital channels.

“In an age of greater personalisation, one-to-one communication and multiple contact touch-points, we are aligning our staff and resources to meet these changes and provide dynamic marketing solutions.”

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