Data Ignorance Is Not Data Bliss

Do you know where your data came from, where it is and what it’s doing?

This is not a new question. But it does have a renewed relevance in this updated data economy. GDPR is in full swing, and a number of legislative efforts are ramping up throughout the country that could have a dramatic impact on the media landscape. Most of these efforts are centered on consumer data privacy and control, but what about the publishers, the brands and their respective data? How much thought is being given to them and the ways their data is being utilized in that same media landscape? More importantly, how much attention are you paying to these issues?

Most marketers are spending time to ensure their partners are GDPR compliant. Are you also spending time to better understand what’s going on with your data? First off, where does the data you use come from? Where is the data sourced and how was that data aggregated? Are your partners compliant or ignorant when it comes to the source of the data you’re using? It’s probably safe to assume that Google and Facebook are primarily using their own data, but what about the other companies you work with? What about your own first-party data? Are you even clear how that data was derived and how recently it was cleansed?



Once your data, both first party or sourced third party, is out on the web, where does it go and how is it being used? For years, brands and publishers were forced to clean up issues around third-party cookies piggybacking all over the web and companies like Evidon existed to help them sort this out. Now it’s about the data itself and the potential leakage of that data. Where does it go? Who else may be harvesting that data? Who else is using that data? Is there even a way to protect your data once it is in the market? When it comes to your first-party data, that is a valuable commodity and once it is out there, it may be accessible by other companies, including your competitors. Are they reverse looking at that data and uncovering insights about your customers. Are they getting access to your data and using it for their own purposes?

Once your data is in use, does it actually work? When you build a customer profile and you leverage multiple providers to build a 360-degree view of that customer, which of those data segments are the most valuable to your campaign performance? Is there a way to index and prioritize which of those data assets are actually the most important or valuable to you? This is not an easy undertaking, but it’s an important one. You don’t want to be feeding the competition the insights that will improve their campaigns.

Using data has become an intrinsic part of being a marketer these days, but it’s not easy and with it comes a host of challenges that have got to be addressed. The last few years have amped up the usage of data by marketers, but this current state of the data economy may actually result in fewer marketers using data unless they are 100% confident in their understanding of where the data came from and how its being used. If you aren’t practicing strong data governance, you could end up with a fine that debilitates your business and nobody wants that to happen, least of all the other companies in media.

How focused are you on these issues in your organization?

1 comment about "Data Ignorance Is Not Data Bliss".
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  1. Larry Todd from LeadsRX, June 20, 2018 at 3:40 p.m.

    A lot of good points here Cory, and a ton of questions that marketers are certainly dealing with on an ongoing basis.  There has been an explosion of data, and more and more ways to learn and about our customers.  The rise of GDPR has slowed the race to gather as much data as possible.  Instead, to your point, companies are trying to figure out how to govern the data they already have, identify all active data sources, and ensure compliance.  I agree the puzzle becomes more complex when you rely on 3rd party data sources.  When it comes to building out customer profiles and journey maps, it's important to leverage a tool that allows you to stay compliant while delivering insights that help maximize marketing ROI.  LeadsRX ( gives marketers the ability to not only anonymize users while still delivering complete journey maps, but also anonymize users' IP address, which is considered PII in the eyes of GDPR.  This allows for an accurate map of a customer's engagement with your brand while heeding the calls for data privacy.

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