Data marketplace will allow a shift in power


Justin Basini’s new business, Allow, might be a significant player in determining the shape of marketing.

Basini was a recent Financial Services Forum marketer of the year when European vice-president of brand marketing for Capital One, and has previously had stints with Deutsche Bank and Procter & Gamble.

But now he has teamed up with business partner Howard Huntley to launch an attack on untargeted marketing in all its forms. When it goes live in December after £500,000-worth of seed capital spent, Allow aims to give consumers a fully-informed picture of all their personal data that is currently being traded by companies in order to drive profits.

Basini hopes to create a new sector that he calls a “marketplace for permission”. The background here is obvious enough/ use of our personal data is becoming a national debate, whether we are talking about commercial or public use. The examples of Google’s Street View cars accidentally collecting WiFi data, Facebook “trapping” its users’ private details even after they’ve deleted their profiles, and Government departments losing entire discs worth of sensitive information have informed a conflict that many of us have felt personally, a conflict between privacy and “connectivity”.

“Allow will take that data to the brands its customers have given it permission to talk to and will offer it to marketers for the right price”

Basini believes consumers will grab the opportunity to take control of their own personal data. Allow aims to make individual consumers aware of their data’s value to companies. Allow will ask its customers what personal data they are happy to see traded in the market and, crucially, what companies, organisations and brands they are happy for it to be sold to. Then Allow will take that data to the brands its customers have given it permission to talk to and will offer it to marketers for the right price.

This is potentially great news for the brands. They get a hot lead that has given them permission to communicate one-to-one. Meanwhile, when Allow sells the lead, it will split the profits with that lead in order to grow its database.

Basini won’t reveal the number of consumers he hopes will register with Allow in its first year but even beyond that he needs a series of brands to recognise Allow and agree to do business with the start-up. At that stage Allow will seek second-round funding. If that happens, the shift in power from your marketing department to your customer that we’ve witnessed in the past two years will only accelerate.