Skip to content
Analytics  •  Data and Analytics

Teemu Relander: Coming back home (to Avaus)

Besides all the excitement of entering into something new, it feels like coming back home. Even literally, since I am sitting in my home remote office whilst writing this. It’s exactly 9 years to the day since I left Avaus after first founding the Avaus Analytics business unit in 2010. It feels like a long time, but when reflecting on the digital sales & marketing domain nothing has really fundamentally changed during that time. Of course, there has been a lot of incremental development, new technologies and wider adoption of digital service usage, but still, it has been quite boring with nothing radically changing. 


Back in 2010, together with Kim Weckström, we put together a press release stating that the mission of Avaus Analytics was to do something remarkable; combining customer data from offline channels with web behavioural data to build better experiences for our customers’ clients. Astonishingly, that press release could be released almost word for word today, a decade after its original release since only a fraction of European companies have taken up the challenge. Even fewer are using modern automation at scale. Looking back at that time, we were too naive to realise that the technological enablers or business maturity weren’t yet in place. Based on my experience I know that at least in 2020 the technology is here. A really low hanging fruit to build competitive advantage on with surprisingly low effort, if you know what you are doing. 


Late 2019 and early 2020 while observing loads of weak signals, you could see that there might be some fundamental changes ahead of us. This inspired me to decide that I do not want to miss a crucial period of disruption that I may be privileged to be part of. 


Social media and the digital marketing community were packed by new daily announcements deriving mostly from privacy trust problems facing California-led technology vendors including burying the 3rd party cookie, dying browser plug-ins, increased privacy control mechanisms for consumers, even app marketplaces getting shut down and new platforms arising from nowhere at a speed never seen before. From mid-March 2020, nobody was talking about cookies or anything related, but as we have seen the COVID-19 epidemic achieved more in a few weeks than any CDO or Digital Transformation Initiative so far, even when looking at a time horizon of many years. Digital services were suddenly adopted – with two-digit growth figures. All this encouraged me to consider what would be the best home to site myself in the middle of all of the changes around us. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I should be at the core of fueling the changes: Avaus Data & Analytics services. 


I’ve had the good fortune to observe all relevant sides of the marketing ecosystem while working at several agencies, within an international publisher and large Nordic advertiser, and also using a variety of different martech & adtech tools. My next adventure after founding the Avaus Analytics business unit back in 2010 was heading up Online Performance operations for Sanoma, across Finland and the Benelux countries. For the past five years, I’ve been looking at the entire maretch ecosystem from an advertiser perspective as Head of Marketing Technology at If Insurance P&C. My focus during that time has been to drive the transformation of If to become more data-driven within sales, marketing and customer experience across the Nordics and Baltics. 


In order not to lose the fast-paced atmosphere of agency culture, since 2017 I have, in addition to my day job, acted as the Chairman of Board for the OIKIO Digital Performance Marketing Agency, overseeing its growth strategy and also as an investor. Besides my role at Avaus, I will continue to contribute to the growth of OIKIO in the future. Since there are no conflicting activities between Avaus and OIKIO, we see the synergies of giving a wide as possible perspective within the digital marketing agency field, to the benefit of both companies.  


Completing the loop, I’m returning to Avaus and agency life after exactly 9 years as Business Lead for our Data & Analytics offering. The utilisation of data and algorithmic thinking within European companies has still not matured and I believe that the biggest changes within sales, marketing and customer experience are still ahead of us. Focusing the past years into speeding up that transformation within large corporations, I want to offer now my skill set of business understanding, technology & data, marketing and privacy by design approach for a wider range of clients in the future. 


Various data sources such as financial data, sales data, customer data etc. have for a long time been seen as corporate assets and treated accordingly. But building marketing data-assets is still in a very early phase, unfortunately. A marketing data-asset isn’t any new data source on the CMO / CDO agenda, but rather a combination of existing data sources manipulated for the usage of sales, marketing and customer experience. But most importantly it’s a data-asset you can take action on and build concrete activities that create something tangible for customers or prospects. It’s not about increasing the amount of reporting and BI, it’s about making an impact. After settling, meeting new clients and colleagues, I’ll share more of my thoughts regarding actionable marketing data-assets and how to put them into use. 


As part of that sharing, we’ll start a blog series to walk you through how to build a world-class marketing data-asset and make it actionable. Additionally there will also be hands-on tactics and use cases to be shared. Helping you to digest our thoughts we will explain them in webinars to follow. 


Stay tuned for more to come. I am looking forward excitedly to this new chapter in my life with old friends!



Teemu Relander

Head of Data & Analytics