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CitizenMe at #PIE17

On Monday, some of us CitizenMe peeps had the privilege of attending #PIE17, which was hosted by our friends over at CtrlShift. Being the newbie, it was my first time at PIE (Personal Information Economy) and my first time at an event which mostly focused on data. Coming from a previous marketing role in an industry heavily driven by data and a lot of secondary research, it was refreshing to hear from businesses that are embracing consumer ownership and the implementation of GDPR.

After registration and a caffeine boost, we spent some time chatting away to other attendees including those from startups, SMEs and household names such as the BBC. There was a lot of discussion about the future of personal data and, of course, the phrase of the day was ‘GDPR’.

So what was discussed at PIE?

In comparison to many of the marketing events that I have been to in the past, it was great to see that the universe has started to shift. I encountered fellow marketers who were there to better understand how they can ethically use data to create improved customer experiences, as opposed to how they can show the most adverts to them (see ya later crappy adtech).

Huge national companies such as the Co-op were talking about how they had opened up communities, one of the opening talks, from Antony Jenkins of 10x Future Technologies, discussed about how we need to look at data as infrastructure, and there were many people talking about how new technology can actually help people in their everyday lives, from cheaper bills to finding a killer outfit. We already know that AdTech is stuck down a rabbit hole, but the fact that marketers are seeing things like adblockers as a challenge to make them do a better job is amazing!

Star of the show?

Our pal, Ije, from Wolff Olins gave one of the last presentations of the day where he talked about how the future of marketing is about to get way more radical. One interesting takeaway was his prediction of the ‘death of the marketing funnel’ (let’s see if we can make #DeathToTheFunnel happen). But what was also key was the reminder that actually, we as marketers, are here to serve the people. If people are saying that they ignore the ads, but want the advice and entertainment, we know what we have to do!

For too long, brands have been too selfish when it comes to sharing their slice of the pie (pun totally intended). But looking to the future, I can see 2018 being the year when all that changes with marketing and data awareness changing for the better. Despite the introduction of GDPR forcing businesses to up the ante when it comes to data protection compliance, seeing marketers and businesses start to actively seek ethical marketing methods, for me, was one one of the best discoveries of PIE17.

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