Solving for the Media+Data+Privacy Equation

The different ways that companies interpret customer privacy concerns are becoming distracting from the job at hand. That is, to make a profit by moving the product.

"It's a big delay while people get their house of cards together" was the way one panelist put it at MediaPost's Forecast 2020 conference Wednesday in New York.

Albert Thompson, Managing Director of Digital at Walton Isaacson (right), said these differences are "not solving the problem, not customer centric. Privacy needs to take a page from gaming. There should be different levels from the person who says 'Track me, do what you want, I'm fearless' to the person who says 'Here are certain things I want you to know about me,' down to the person who says 'I'm off the grid.'"

He suggested scenario-based data gathering during such times as a holiday season when consumers want to get the lowest prices. 

Eran Metzer, Executive Director of Data and Marketing Technology at Hearts & Science (center), agreed, saying, Selling is selling and you get something in return. The right approach is to [let the consumer know] it's happening and there are ways to work in [any] constraint. You gotta give the consumer an option."

He said data is a critical component in marketing. Data sets that are clean, that stem from first-party data are evolving. "Consumers are aware how it's collected and used. The strategy of taking data and retargeting consumers with a new ad or product is a small portion of this industry."

At the front end of audience targeting, said Thompson, is the client's focus on sales goals. They are looking at store activity, tracking store visits, measure sales lists "down to tracking UPCs. They have surpassed the cookie conversation. The industry has gotten short sighted.

You should have moved to the stage of looking at whether your efforts are moving the product and less being stuck in the privacy conversation. Regulations come after the fact. After a snafu. Most of our clients have tasked us with revenue return." 

Calling first-party data "new gold," Metzer vowed companies "will find a way to find and maintain third-party data sets."

And, besides, said Thompson, "loyalty is grounded in transparency. Not in repetitive engagement, that's more akin to stalking. Start with what you're going to do with the information. Build platforms on trust. The problem is that collection feels sneaky. Like it's unethical. Start with the central core. Establish rules of engagement. 

"From that point, you get license to have the type of customer contact you want. Industry sped past it, chasing what's that new thing we need to run down. It's almost laughable to see cookie notifications. It's on its way out the door." 

Moderator Lisa Singer, event editorial manager at MediaPost, is at left.

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