It seems that WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell is not the only big boss who has fallen in love with the power of data after Publicis Groupe head Maurice Levy launched a glowing homage which puts his rival’s “we’re all Maths Men” claim to shame.
Writing in trade rag The Drum, Levy reveals exactly why he is so besoted, gushing: “[Data] brings efficiency: big data allows the locating of information that can help the client best target the consumers it wants to acquire.
“It is also instrumental in delivering the right message using the consumer’s preferred screen, in the multi-connected always-on age.”
And while he says data is driving the huge surge of digital marketing, he insists “it is an animal of its own”.
He adds: “[Data] fosters dialogue and compatibility: while companies have a lot of data to delve through, they also have to be able to talk to each another using data banks. Hence the convergence that stems from such compatibility challenges.
“It is much richer than mere bits: the combination with psychological information means that the client gets hard facts to create engaging content. There is so much data coming from the web that, to extract its hidden value, you need to combine, crosscheck and overlap data in order to build a profile. You can then establish some hard facts on the kinds of websites and e-commerce platforms people are visiting or purchasing on.”
However, he also flags up the privacy “elephant in the room”, adding: “How much do consumers want to disclose in order for me to target them with a message? That can be either very useful or very annoying. And this is starting to become very sensitive, as epitomised by Snapchat’s success or Tor-based initiatives. In due course, regulators will undoubtedly step in – at least in Europe.
“Bottom line, you have the issue of data ownership. The consumer could rightfully ask ‘it’s my information, why should anyone else make money out of it?’ and claim for a share of the associated revenues. Some start-ups already offer value for personal data.
“Though the Internet model is built on advertising and data collection for (mainly) free services, it doesn’t mean that companies should be the only beneficiaries.”
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