Will the new data regulations send us back to the marketing dark ages?

  • On May 17, 2018
  • In blog

Will the new data regulations send us back to the marketing dark ages?


What a difference a year makes

Last year we were all concerned about data fraud and transparency issues. Increased scrutiny around media spend intensified, especially in areas such as programmatic video. Marketers withdrew spend as it became clearer auditing where content is served by algorithms was ‘difficult’ to say the least.

Fast forward to 2018 and we are clearly in a period where the utilisation of data to fuel marketing activity is facing an increasing level of scrutiny. If the impeding GDPR regulation changes wasn’t enough to highlight that then the recent scandals involving Cambridge Analytica and their utilisation of social media targeting has certainly created extra buzz around the subject.


There’s nothing wrong with questioning the flow of our data

We are well within our rights to mull over the utilisation of our personal data with a fine toothcomb, especially in any occasion where we find ourselves in front of dubious content. There have been far too many occasions where I’ve personally ended up on the tail end of less than relevant targeting, an experience I’m sure we all share. Even more importantly, platforms that offer up their audience for targeting by brands need to ensure ethical, moral and sound principles for targeting.

However, demanding a clear and transparent visibility of who has access to data and how they use it is different to not utilising data at all in fear that we can’t conform. As we move into a brave new world that embraces information integrity and good quality standards, there is a danger that marketers will begin to move away from the utilisation of data, and if that happens we will all take one step backwards.


Are we losing sight of the data opportunity?

We cannot afford to lose relevance in our targeting. There are plenty of opportunities to use the information collected on customers to enhance their interactions with a brand. This is primarily the reason a term such as ‘legitimate interest’ appears in GDPR regulation.

It should be a gateway for brands to continue communicating with their existing customers with relevant messaging that acts in their best interests. The outcome will be good for customers and best practice for brands. If regulation changes enable brands to improve quality of what they collect and build relevance for existing customers, we will all begin to see increased levels of spend from active, and loyal, customers.


Clarity is key

Of course, let’s not forget that the key to good data is the customers consent and input. There should be a clear obligation to the customer that their personal information will not be shared with brands or sold on for others to purchase without their explicit consent. I just hope when the dust settles and we have moved onto the next significant controversy we are still using data for relevance and measurement as opposed to the dark days of wasted marketing spend.



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