Case Study: Transport for London

Non-profit / Government

Customer Success Story

Convenient Segmentation for Government Orgs with Large Databases


Rapidly Changing, Sprawling User Database

With an average of more than 3 million passengers using the Underground rapid transit system in a single day, Transport For London needs a reliable and efficient system to organize its vast database. This responsibility, along with email communications, used to be outsourced to third parties. Eventually, the cost became unviable and TFL established its own CRM team. 

As its database grew, TFL struggled to add data sources and attributes to Audience Builder, often reaching out to Salesforce support teams for help. Frustrated with the complexity of manually writing SQL and its limitations when it comes to data visualization, Transport for London’s CRM team sought out a solution that would simplify data visualization and eliminate the reliance on Salesforce’s assistance.

With DESelect Segment, Transport for London has an easier time making sure riders get where they need to go and keeping “The Big Smoke” running efficiently.


  • Easily find and visualize Data Extensions in their extensive database
  • Make the Communications team more independent from the IT department
  • Simplify the process of adding data sources and attributes


  • Increased turnaround speed on projects and eliminated reliance on the IT department
  • In-house CRM management has cut down costs and saved time, as opposed to third-party services
  • Simple data visualization creates a better understanding of customers’ habits

DESelect is what’s missing from Salesforce. It transforms the Marketing Cloud experience as a very flexible, intuitive tool that allows you to communicate with the right customers, about the right things, at the right time.

Jan PoklewskiSenior Product Owner at Transport for London


How Transport for London uses DESelect Segment

  1. Creating personalized campaigns for each specific borough in London
  2. Sending out personalized activity summaries to users of the Rent-a-Bike service, which include intricate data such as the amount of calories burned and carbon emissions avoided.
  3. Sorting through expansive Data Extensions such as Total Miles Traveled to easily compile annual summaries
  4. Nurturing subscribers for upcoming launches (ex. e-bikes fleet)
  5. Evaluating travel habits data to advise customers on how to get the most out of their money and buy the right tariffs (single, monthly or annual)



  • Accuracy
    “It’s easy to select exactly which people you need for a campaign, even without prior technical knowledge.”
  • Continuous Product Improvement
    “The service has been great, as has the product development. I love the fact that we get new useful features every couple of months, and the fact that the product just always works. You see a new feature come out and you know that it has been well tested, you don’t question the quality.”
  • Versatility
    “DESelect is a very flexible tool. The product was cheaper than its competitors, and much more versatile.”

Q&A with Jan Poklewski from Transport for London

  • What was it like before the partnership with DESelect?

    If we had kept using the data that we were using four years ago, we would have been fine. However, our data sets grew exponentially. We had to add those new sources of data manually into Audience Builder, which was not very user-friendly for posterior review. Now, if I write a DESelect selection, any other person can take a look and know what it's doing at a glance.

  • What is one of your favorite features of DESelect?

    One of the most amazing things was to be able to search for Data Extensions properly. We’ve got hundreds, maybe thousands of DE’s now, and it was really difficult to find the right one before. So even if you were an expert in SQL, you would’ve had to be pretty good at rummaging around to find it.

  • What led you to seek out a solution like DESelect?

    We were primarily seeking independence of the Customer Communications team from the IT department, and empowering them to do everything on their own. With DESelect now, I’m confident that we’re at that point.

  • What made you choose DESelect?

    Just the fact that you can have access to every single Data Extension is invaluable. Now that we’ve adopted the product, we get excited every two months because we know there will be even more features dropping. I’m more excited about DESelect’s releases than Salesforce’s. Also, what made it an easy sell was how easy it was to install. I mean, It’s available minutes after you purchase it! 

  • What were some big accomplishments that were made possible with DESelect?

    The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on public transportation, so we wanted to keep people informed about anything that might impact their commute: changes in tube schedules, canceled bus routes, etc.

    DESelect has also really helped us with our “road user charges.” In London, there are different charges depending on your driving habits. For instance, if you drive a highly polluting vehicle or travel around Central London, you need to pay a charge. We were given datasets from the organization that manages that and DESelect made it really easy to organize that information.

    Last but not least, we wanted to categorize customers by frequency of travel. Our goal was to segment them and make specialized campaigns. Rather than writing SQL, we used custom fields. So it hasn’t only helped us with new audiences, but also helped us enhance our core data because now we don’t have to put it in a query every time, we just run the automation every night.

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