Data-Driven Roadshow: Big Data, Political Targeting and Mobile – Oh My!

roadshowI’ve been on a bit of a data-driven roadshow this past week, talking about the value of data-driven marketing and its policy implications in a host of different contexts.  Here are the highlights (and insights)…

Data-Driven Stop #1: The “Big Data and Why it Matters” event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where I basked in geeky-cool discussions of how data innovation is driving America – from your doctor’s office to the Social Security Administration to the outfield of the Washington Nationals Baseball Club.  It was eye-opening and inspiring to consider the sheer size of “big data” (verging on the sublime) and the technology that has evolved not just to harness that data, but to translate it into actionable insights that transform the way we live, work and play.  I’ve never been so aware of the degree to which we all live data-driven lives – the degree to which data quietly and seamlessly improves our experiences and quality of life every day.  That’s exactly why I was amazed to find myself the only speaker talking not only about the incredible, seamless  experiences that big data creates for consumers across every industry and economic sector you can imagine…but also what we all need to do to ensure that a data-driven future remains bright.  As I’ve said before, that bright future is not necessarily a given here in Washington.  Clearly the Data-Driven Marketing Institute (DDMI) has lots of work ahead to ensure that the business community understands the threats to data-driven marketing and take action to secure the data-driven future!

Data-Driven Stop #2: The “Data-Crunched Democracy” conference at UPenn’s Annenberg School of Communications, where political targeting was the topic of the day.  (Check out the fascinating #datapolitics tweet-fest).  Conversation ranged from how voter modeling got its start, to whether data-mining constitutes political speech, to the consequences of political targeting for the democratic process.  In the final session of the day, my fellow panelists and I compared the robust self-regulation (and more than 300 laws!) that govern the use of consumer data for marketing purposes…to the complete lack of regulation governing the use of that same consumer data for political targeting.  Perhaps more eye-opening for the politicos in the audience was the realization that limiting data use by data-driven marketers would limit the platforms that politicians and their campaigns depend on to effectively target voters – and win elections.  File that under “Things that make you go hmm…”

Data-Driven Stop #3: The Summit on Advertising Privacy Compliance: Mobile Apps, Smart Phones & the World Wide Web put on by the American Conference Institute, where the mobile ecosystem took center stage.  Previewing advancements in mobile self-regulation coming down the pike this summer, I was met with a host of questions about how companies can ensure they stay on the right side of the regulatory fence while using consumer data to drive a better experience on the mobile web and the app environment. I love being at the front of a room full of marketers and advertisers eager to “do the right thing” and these folks made my day!  In my work leading the DDMI, I spend a lot of time talking to policymakers, consumer advocates and the press about all of the hard work that data-driven marketers do to be responsible stewards of consumer data and this crowd of mobile-minded data stewards will be the next example I use on Capitol Hill.

Up next on the data-driven roadshow…Integrated Marketing Week in the Big Apple!  See you there?

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