Who really wins from the data consumer champions?

DM opt-ins: Is data being sold out?
DM opt-ins: Is data being sold out?

Having been in the industry for 30 years I am proud of the work that I and my fellow marketers have pioneered over this time. Back in the late Seventies and Eighties, data was a nice to have rather than the lifeblood it is today, and conversations with customers really only took place on the shop floor.

That said, it is disappointing when new initiatives launch that serve to undermine the foundations of the direct marketing industry for short-term personal gain. The most recent of these is Allow, launched by Howard Huntley and Justin Basini, who was a senior brand marketer at Capital One. As far as I can tell the service enables consumers to sign up and be rewarded for being “in control” of the marketing messages they receive.

Sounds a good deal for the consumer in theory. But in reality how much will the consumer receive? How much is their data worth? Surely the consumer becomes a commodity and what worries me even more is that a marketer is trying to place a monetary value on data as if all data is the same.

An email address for a customer who predominately uses email and wants to make a purchase in the next three weeks is infinitely more valuable than a postal address for a consumer who wants to be contacted by email and doesn’t want to make a purchase. Data is all about the context, hence why we have seen so many list providers either go under or develop their proposition.

Consumer solutions which are based on the emotion of marketing undermine the entire industry. And while I wish Mr Basini well with this new enterprise, I’m not convinced about the motivations – is it really championing the consumer? Or a way to make a fast buck?

Penny Hutton
Eclipse Marketing

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