It's the data, stupid

/ 20 January 2020

I’ve been struck in the past weeks by the accelerating pace of movement around consumer data.  

We have seen the US begin to legislate around consumer data privacy with CCPA, no doubt the start of many regulatory moves recognising the primacy of the consumer in the recording and use of their own data.

The largest data gatherers and exploiters in the world are making massive changes in their operations like Google planning to withdraw 3rd party cookies from Chrome. 

And those using data are being warned by the regulators that they better shape up – with the ICO recently publishing a paper highlighting that the use of data in online advertising is often not compliant with Europe’s GDPR. 

Consumers are increasingly understanding the value of their data and being frustrated and angry by its misuse – especially where that leads to poor retargeting experiences like pushing adverts for days on end for products they have just bought, or poor personalisation based on out of date data.

It’s the perfect storm – one that means that marketers have to go back to basics – and build a sustainable customer data strategy. 

Without addressing what data is valuable, how it can be gathered in a manner not just consistent with regulation but in a transparent manner that the consumer feels comfortable with, and how it can be used to deliver insight and appropriate personalisation of products, services and communications (as opposed to personalisation that grates or feels “creepy”), all the big investments marketers have made in martech will start to struggle.

Just the martech market is said to be worth $121.5 billion worldwide (BDO/WARC) – without the right data this investment will not deliver a return. And that doesn’t address the lost revenue and profit from an organisation not understanding its customers and prospects and how best to meet their needs. 

Marketers must wake up and prioritise their own earned data strategy – because without it they have little use for all their clever martech stacks – and with it they can deliver the kind of exceptional products, services and experiences that will enable them to win in their market.

Much like Clinton’s 1992 election theme, “The economy, stupid”, which resonated so well with the issues of the day, I believe that we will all soon see a sustainable data strategy as being a core issue in marketing today and for some time to come.

David Eldridge, 3radical

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