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Personal data services will re-invent the marketing wheel

In this post-Snowden world, citizens are increasingly distrustful of businesses handling their personal data. Concerns of government surveillance have filtered down into corporate surveillance. Digital citizens are increasingly questioning the motives of the tools that help us buy such as advertising, comparison services and loyalty programmes. With new EU regulation this year, 2016 will be an inflection point in how personal data is used. New personal data services will emerge that empower people with their own data. They will help them better manage their lives, make better decisions and discover the world around them.

The Drum wrote an interesting feature covering some of these issues. They examined the state of the data economy, the impact of EU regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the emergence of Personal Information Management Services (PIMS). They wrote:

“Data is now big business, informing how consumers are tracked and targeted with marketing messages but also – as the internet of things comes online with connected devices from fitness trackers to fridges, cars and even medical equipment – transforming how businesses operate and the services they offer.”

The data economy is central to the products we use and how we hear about them. But in many cases our personal data is used without our knowledge, by companies we do not know, for uses we have not consented to. The new EU regulation, the GDPR, will tighten up how businesses use personal data.

This is positive news for digital citizens in the EU. They will be able to reclaim some control of their data and benefit from it. The GDPR will also strengthen the position of new start-ups like citizenme. Start-ups that aim to help people take control of their personal data and gain value from it. The GDPR includes a right to data portability which means citizens should be given an electronic and machine readable copy of their data to share with whom they like. Citizens will need services, like citizenme, to help them make good use of this data. The Drum’s feature concluded:

“Data is the lifeblood of businesses. For too long, however, the focus has been solely on its worth to brands. As European data protection reforms come into play and more and more startups look to help people regain control of their personal information and realise its value, are we about to see newfound respect for consumers?”

Yes but it goes further than “new found respect”. It will fundamentally change how marketing functions. The traditional marketing wheel (at a very high level) goes something like this:

marketing_wheel

Instead of being a linear process, marketing will become much more fluid. When data is integrated around the individual, marketing hinges on trust based relationships. And when the individual is in control of their data, there’s no reason why they cannot move from a state of anonymity (required for research) to revealing their identity (required for action). It’s important for those participating in research to remain anonymous but there’s no reason why they cannot disclose their identity at the end of the process. For example, those involved in helping a brand co-create a product might be interested in being the first to use that product. Or if someone has received a poor experience there’s no reason why their identity cannot be revealed (with full consent, of course) to resolve the issue.

Privacy needs to be protected but what people want are outcomes. Real outcomes where the terms are transparent and the benefits tangible. With people in control of their data, the traditional marketing wheel will fundamentally change. Marketing will no longer be something that gets done to consumers. Rather, consumers will take more control and exert more agency in the market place when empowered with their data.

Thanks to Seth Doyle for the featured photo

Ryan Garner

Ryan has provided insights to global brands, helping shape products and services around real customer needs. He has spent the past 3 years helping businesses think about the opportunities in the personal information economy. He now brings this experience to CitizenMe. As much as Ryan loves technology, he likes to escape by growing fruit and veg on an allotment with his kids. And if you have not already heard, Ryan is a very smug Leicester City supporter right now!

All stories by: Ryan Garner

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