This week I attended Elevate T.O, a technology and innovation festival in its 3rd year in Toronto. Topics covered a broad range of subjects but as a marketer with a passion for data and digital, I spent my time between the Data & Analytics and Digital Transformation tracks. It’s always inspiring to hear from experts who have great stories showcasing how they are innovating and leveraging strategy, tech and data to bring value to both their organizations and clients.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some of my thoughts on what I learned, kicking off today with a topic that has been a passion for many years.

Data has to drive Joint Prosperity and Shared Value

For almost 20 years, brands have been collecting data about consumers, including purchasing behaviour, digital engagement, attitudes about their (and competitor) products and lifestyle behaviour. The data is collected in order to optimize how companies engage, market and sell to the end consumers. The objective has rarely been for the consumer to be just as prosperous and derive as much value as the brand.

That just won’t fly anymore.

We marketers talk about the digitally savvy consumer, the one who knows why she is asked for her email every time she makes a purchase. She knows brands are collecting and analysing her data and she is starting to realize how those ads are appearing in her inbox and alongside the photos of her friends on her preferred social channel. What brands don’t fully realize yet, is that if she doesn’t see immediately how this will help her – she now has the power to stop her data from being used.

Privacy legislation, most notably the European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), provides consumers the right to know what data companies are collecting about them, and then the right to have that data removed. The legislation firmly puts control of a consumer’s data into their own hands. Most Canadians aren’t fully aware of these rights, but a lighter version is now in place in California and the rest of North America isn’t far behind. But it’s not all doom and gloom. I believe most people won’t be running to erase their data and digital footprints – as long as they can see how they benefit.

That’s where the idea of joint prosperity and shared value kick in.

If companies can grow and succeed on the back of this powerful data, shouldn’t those that provide the data do so as well?

Brands will have to do better.

  1. They need to develop new products that respond directly to the pain points that they collect, including optimizing the channels used for distribution and customer service.
  2. They need to find ways to create marketing where the consumer doesn’t feel that they are being driven to just buy more, but are being provided with products and services that are for their benefit and that their loyalty is being rewarded with value-add including better pricing, expanded service, and better overall value.
  3. Brands need to find ways to deliver all of this in a way where a consumer feels recognized as an individual.

Consumers need to feel the value.

Brands need to see the value.

The good news is that we have the technology to process, analyze, action and personalize all this rich data at scale. Brands just need to recognize that in order to succeed today and in the future they will have to shift slightly and look at the value of data as driving joint prosperity and value creation for both themselves and the consumer.

It can be a Win/Win situation. It has to be a Win/Win situation.

If you are interested in finding out how your company can be a part of this winning outcome, I would love to chat further. You can find me at [email protected].