Commentary

Data Takes Center Stage in 2010

Last year, you couldn't open a marketing industry email or attend an industry conference without hearing about social media, Twitter and Facebook. This year, data will become a huge focus: how to get it, what to collect, who to share it with and what to do with it once you have it. Recently, I attended two distinct events, an investment banker conference and a marketing conference, yet all of the talk was about data.

My takeaway from both, and from many of my conversations after each event, is these top five reasons why 2010 will be the year that data becomes king -- and how to capitalize on the data movement.

1. The time has come. Everyone now finally understands that the right data drives conversions. It sounds simple, but the bulk of advertisers out there are not direct marketers. They haven't grown up in a world where data on their consumers was as easily accessible as it is today. The Internet is the first mass marketing medium where so much data is not only available, but also rich, meaningful, and so simple to obtain.

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2. Figuring out the most meaningful data points that are critical to increasing conversion is the biggest opportunity for marketers. Which data points really make the biggest difference to your business? A panelist at one of the events explained that there are really two kinds of data that marketers should consider: data on intent and data on your audience. There is a lot of debate about which is better and which has more impact. At this stage, I think both are worth investigating. Retargeting of anonymous profiles is also the big buzz right now. There must be two to three dozen companies that boast these retargeting capabilities. The jury is still out on how privacy legislation will impact this piece of the industry, but it's definitely a sexy topic right now.

3. There is a fierce debate going on right now about privacy and the use of data by Internet marketers. Many in the industry are expecting big changes to the way advertisers and publishers disclose what they are doing with data and how they are using it to target their advertisements. More transparency is coming, and probably some type of opt-out for the consumer. I sure hope the industry keeps this simple. Some are expecting the FTC to take some type of action. Stay tuned.

4. One of the biggest mistakes a marketer can make when it comes to data is to overcomplicate the pitch, adding confusion to the marketplace. Clients are ready to talk data 1.0, but marketers are spurting about data 5.0. We need to follow the KISS guidelines when explaining how we use data to our clients if we want them to see the relevance and potential.

5. I still think the best way to target and the best way to build quality data points is to get a consumer to opt-in to the advertiser's database and gather self-profiled information that the consumer is willing to share. This creates the best user experience, and is the most transparent and straightforward approach. And for advertisers, it's the easiest to understand and has much longer-term benefits, as they can market to the consumer over time, and build their trust and loyalty.

4 comments about "Data Takes Center Stage in 2010".
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  1. Albert Azout from Sociocast Networks, February 4, 2010 at 11:22 a.m.

    Great article. We completely agree. At Sociocast, we are working on optimizing and socializing accumulated user data and developing user memories that can port from place to place.

  2. Pat Mcgraw from [mcgraw | marketing], February 4, 2010 at 11:29 a.m.

    Jere,

    Great post - from your screen to the clients' ear (and brain)! I have been down this path before and actually watched the client implode because they wanted Data 5.0 but were only ready for 1.0 at best. Sometimes managing expectations is more important to success than managing data!

    Best,
    Pat

  3. Lynn Goodendorf, February 4, 2010 at 8:33 p.m.

    Agree with your perspective and in particular point #5.

  4. Mark Powers from 118id, February 15, 2010 at 12:50 p.m.

    Great post. At 118id we've pioneered a methodology called Connecting the DOTS™ which stands for Digital Optimized Targeting Strategy™. Global companies are turning to us because of our experience, understanding and ability to truly drive measurable ROI's.

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