It was with mixed feelings that I read Alan Mitchell’s piece “Getting consumers in on the act is the best formula for success” (MW April 20). Surely we’ve been here before?
The misguided belief that marketers had “distilled the secrets of CRM” has led to many CRM disasters over the years for the very reasons that Mitchell reflects upon/ “push-button” marketing, where a business can get an answer and instantly know what to do, simply does not exist.
However, I do believe that his attitude to the data industry is a little misguided. There is more to some data businesses than just “harvesting, selling and using consumer data”. I agree that data is a personal asset, and our duty is to ensure that it is used to the best effect for the consumer.
At a technological level, data is an extremely useful tool to marketers, but the process can fall apart when there aren’t enough data professionals who instinctively understand marketing and their customers. This is often because these professionals are placed in silos within companies, and rarely see the marketing picture at an enterprise level. This is ostensibly the fault of the marketing industry as a whole, not just data businesses.
The solution is rather to encourage marketers to use data tactically and effectively – not simply discounting it.