Sooo…. anything interesting happen in the Direct Marketing world today?
I’ve seen multiple memes and jokes on my Instagram (streetbedford) and Twitter (st_beford) about Mark Zuckerberg going before Congress and the data breach at Facebook. While I chuckled at most and laughed heartily at a few, it got me thinking about data and it’s role in today’s marketing environment.
In the opinion of this Marketing Professional, data is still king (or queen) when it comes to marketing. It can be targeted prospect files or mining your own internal customer data – but the learning and level of targeting/sub-segmentation it allows is second to none. It’s not sexy like digital marketing, re-targeting, and social media advertising – but it has one distinct advantage, it rarely ever lies. Once you append demographic elements, transaction activity, aggregated zip+4 Credit data and census to a online or offline universe of customers or prospects – you have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips.
You can target so much better if you know more than just the gender, age and maybe income of your target audience. Data, especially targeted off-line data, that is modeled and analyzed gives you exactly what you are looking for and tells you who your best customers or prospects are.
This bring me back to my original point – when large companies like Facebook or Experian mishandle data and consumers begin to get leery of sharing these valuable data points with marketers, like transaction data and on-line survey data. Marketers and the entire direct marketing world become less precise and looks more like mass level marketing. It’s imperative that large companies treat their databases like gold and as Marketers, it’s our job to make sure that we use this data in an ethical way and in conjunction with all the laws that protect it.
Let me close with this, a few days ago – when I was looking to refine the targeting of my FB business page, I went and looked for the demographic elements that were once available a few months back. In light of the data breach, Facebook has pulled away from all the reliable third party data they were allowing users to leverage and now only have two filters – Country and Age. You might as well throw a dart at a map – for the targeting ability that gives businesses and marketers.
So, as we watch the CEO of Facebook before Congress today, let’s all, as Marketing Professionals, remember that data is the life blood of our industry and we need to be vigilant about protecting it, nurturing it and not making it a cheap commodity.