Value exchange is still the route to worthwhile data

Consumers are generally a savvy bunch, and they’re getting savvier about how brands use their data. According to a <a href="http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/sectors/media/news/the-price-of-personal-data-to-brands-140/4011780.article" target="_blank">recent report</a> by mobile operator Orange, the vast majority of people have an appreciation for the value of their personal data and how that value shifts according to the brands they interact with. The study even puts a figure on the value that the average person attributes to their online data – £140, in case you’re wondering.

jonny bacon

This all seems very precise – as though consumers have suddenly worked out how brands operate behind the scenes and how that knowledge can work in their favour. The past 18 months have been a monumental can-of-worms period for data marketers, from Edward Snowden’s revelations about the complicity of the internet’s biggest companies in CIA surveillance, to Facebook’s admission in June that it has run experiments on users without their knowledge. People now know the extent to which brands harvest and manipulate their data, and they want something in return.

But that doesn’t mean that the fundamental principles of data marketing have changed. The Orange research is useful as a gauge of how people view and value their own data, but putting a monetary figure on that value is not necessarily helpful. In today’s ‘always on’ digital world, the terms by which brands engage with consumers are constantly up for negotiation and depend on relationships, not simple transactions.

This point is aptly demonstrated by DMG Media’s new customer portal. The publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail Online is launching the MyMail portal later this month in order to bring all products and services together in one place. This includes the Mail Rewards loyalty scheme and ecommerce sites for its travel and home improvement services.

The portal should help DMG Media to consolidate data and better understand the lifetime value and buying habits of readers – information that will be of huge value to advertisers. But by improving the customer experience with more convenient and effective services, the company is also offering a clear value exchange to its readers.

Whether MyMail is a success remains to be seen, but it’s encouraging to see brands finding new and valuable ways of solving their data challenges. Regardless of how it goes, the project should prove more cost-effective than giving £140 to every reader.

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