Marketers Can Lead Data Stewardship

Corporate responsibility is a major foundation of DMA. It’s a cause I champion, whether I’m meeting with our Board,  talking with marketers at our events, speaking with regulators in Washington, D.C., or even just sharing  thoughts with you here on the blog.

In my last blog post, I called on marketers to assume the mantle of Chief Marketing Steward. I wrote about ensuring your organization embraces and follows the ethical guidelines produced by DMA with our members, which are so essential to the public trust between brand marketer and consumer.

Marketers can and should take responsibility for data stewardship.  Why?  Because you are the person who is best positioned to understand why data is so important to your company and how to employ it for the well-being of both your company and your customers.

That’s why we’re on this rich data train, after all. The judicious use of data lets us serve our customers better with more relevant and meaningful experiences, whether they happen on the Web, in email and mobile, through the mail or on the phone. This customer-centric viewpoint is (or should be) a hallmark of your marketing operations. Marketers are uniquely positioned to make that happen.

Responsible use of data is a foundation principle for DMA. It’s baked into everything we do, including the agreement you accepted when you became a DMA member.

Putting Big Data to Work

A few weeks ago, I heard the CMO for a large media organization speak about how her company uses the viewer data it collects. Her company takes data stewardship so seriously that it is woven into everything it does, right down to picking concepts for new TV shows.

No matter how surefire a proposal might be, she said, if it doesn’t fit in with what the company has identified as its core customers’ values and profiles, it probably won’t make the cut.

The data this company collects on its viewers, fans and other stakeholders helped the company draw this highly detailed profile. That’s Big Data at work. The company uses that data to strengthen its relationship with its community of viewers. That’s good corporate social responsibility, and it’s happening in the marketing department, not in IT, Legal or Programming.

Data Stewardship Is A Good Fit For Marketing

Marketers handle oceans of customer data every day in ways that your fellow executives, like the chief technical or information officer, don’t manage. That gives you amazing insights into customer behavior, but it also levies an equally amazing mandate to use those insights to serve customers better.

Good corporate social responsibility goes beyond data stewardship, of course, into areas that are outside a marketer’s traditional bailiwick. Is your company a good corporate citizen? Does it encourage fair trade, “green” energy practices, employee well being, conservation and other issues that affect public impressions of your company?

These issues don’t have anything to do with traditional marketing, but we are living in a different age today, where customers want to feel good about the companies they support with their patronage.  And, who cares more about how good customers feel about our brands than the marketing department?  Data stewardship finds a natural home in the marketing organization.

My Challenge to You: Rise to the Occasion

Step up to this new reality, and become the face of responsible data stewardship for your organization. Be the force that safeguards your customer relationship along with the company reputation. Insist that no one in your organization can be allowed to harm either one.

Will you accept this challenge?   DMA will be here to support you and help you succeed. Let me know your views.

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