British consulting firm Ctrl-Shift released the findings last week of an exhaustive 18-month research project conducted for Facebook about what needs to be done to create a sustainable, trust-driven data economy.
The resulting report, “A New Paradigm for Consumer Data,” bashes the concept it’s the consumer who needs to be educated and emphasizes the need for a data economy that gives the data’s owners (i.e., you and me) as much value from using their data as organizations such as Facebook.
One of the companies interviewed during the research is digi.me, which is at the forefront of fully permissioned data access. Headquartered in Europe, where privacy legislation is more restrictive, digi.me makes cookie-tracking and brokered data unnecessary. (Full disclosure: I’ve advised digi.me on a pro bono basis.) We spoke with James Pasquale, EVP for North America.
What is the benefit of fully permissioned access to personal data?
There’s a value exchange that is transparent and mutually beneficial. It increases the consumer’s trust and gives companies more opportunities for real product and marketing innovation. The consumer has a say in the conversation about just what personal data is being shared and with who on a case-by-case basis. Brands get deeper, wider, richer, frictionless and near real-time information. It costs less because it is openly obtained and is 100% accurate — building trust and loyalty on both ends of the conversation. Marketers are also building communities based on real actions, not just interests.
What obstacles are in the way?
Mostly old habits, lack of CMO recognition of better ways to understand customers other than Big Data and lack of awareness of how powerful this can be. Businesses need quality data about interests and intent both for product innovation and to make the right offer to the right person at the right time.
You’ve been one of many experts working behind the scenes with Facebook. Why should
consumers trust that FB has its best interests in mind?
Let’s face it. People already know Facebook collects every keystroke and photo posted, yet they still keep using it. The benefits of the service outweigh any downside from abusing data. FB has chosen a wise approach in keeping individuals happy and engaged. Like your favorite theme park, there are many rides and aspects you don’t like, but there’s enough you love to keep you coming back for more. FB recognizes this, so their concern is to keep us coming back to do more.
More than 100 were part of the Ctrl-Shift research report for FB. As much as we are flattered FB recognizes we're doing the right things correctly, we all have a bright and full future ahead.
In the ideal scenario,
how does this work for the consumer?
There’s a transparent value exchange based on a pre-agreed-upon set of rules. Not the typical terms and conditions everyone glosses over, but with an active process. The customer grants permission of access for a one-time offer, repeating offer, or exercises the ability and right to be forgotten completely.
What are some specific
examples of permissioned marketing solutions in action?
This is a new frontier being forged with different approaches to providing a consistent view of a person’s data. Some are looking at vertical solutions going end-to-end. We are the only company providing this complete view of personal data permissioned by the individual.
Outside of opt-in permission, companies like DataCoup do specific types of data permission for a single purpose. These tend to be a complete vertical view and not an entire horizontal view of personal data. If you are only looking at say, financial data — seeing dramatic changes in worth or spending habits — you have no real way of understanding why or what the reasons are. Datacoup aggregates the data and markets it to wealth management companies.
Companies like Cozy-Cloud are providing a personal cloud OS, and let you set up permissioned access inside it — if you can figure out how. These pCloud operating systems are, from the ground up, not very user-friendly.
Finally, there are SaaS solutions in the market today, which are also forced to go vertical as the individual often doesn’t own their data. They are only able to control it to some degree. At the same time, other data sources forbid in their API access agreements to let a third party hold another interested party’s data in perpetuity, and this is also another big problem for being vertical.
How does this work across channels?
We are still under an NDA with its government and other involved parties so we can’t name names, but we are working with a European country to build out a living lab for proofs of concepts. This entire country's citizens will have complete access to health, financial, and social data aggregated and normalized in a single library entirely owned and controlled by the individual.
Why will consumers ever bother to take the time
to do this?
Individuals need only issue a one-time granting of access to external data sources such as their bank or medical records to import this data. Then it becomes an autosync or case-by-case manual update. Different strokes for different folks. This data can then be synchronized across devices. It is especially important — as we race towards a world of everything-connected IoT — to have a picture of oneself. We like to call it the Internet of Me. We will engage with marketers and their agencies to offer people opportunities they could never get any other way.