Garnett: A good friend of mine observed that the core problem with big data is that the mass of data that holds no meaning very quickly overwhelms those tiny areas of data that hold
important meaning. We are facing this problem today — especially with the range of data being collected. It’s important to
remember, too, that this data has a highly significant weakness:
it records only behavior. The risk with behavioral data is that
while it says “what” someone did, it holds no evidence of “why”
they did it. Without the “why,” it leads to mis-spent marketing
How can marketers best align their product
development, IT, and marketing teams
to maximize both the effectiveness of
marketing messages and the security of
Besasie: There are plenty of articles that say that a com-
pany’s chief marketing officer (CMO) and its chief information
officer (CIO)/chief technology officer (CTO) should be best of
friends. I agree with this. Collaboration needs to start at the top.
Koeppel: There are three ways that come to mind. The first
is to give the people what they want. We have more information about consumer behavior than at any other time and that
behavior should help guide us. The second thing is to align offerings with the behaviors and values that consumers are already
exhibiting. After all, marketers now have to meet the consumer
at a time and place of the consumer’s choosing. The third thing
is to respect the rule of law, and that begins by having a clear
understanding of it. Today’s marketing landscape is ever changing, therefore consumer behaviors and the laws surrounding
them are going to have to respond to those changes.
Stacey: Many firms are moving to a team-based organization from functional silos, as product development, marketing,
sales, and IT now have to work more closely together. The other
important change involves the consumer using data as a tool for
Consumer consent mechanisms can help
ease the strain for marketers trying to walk
the proper privacy line. What consumer
consent mechanisms have you seen that
have been most effective, and why?
Feinstein: Without naming names, the best consumer con-
sent mechanism I’ve seen comes from a wearable device compa-
ny. It’s grown from a one-product wonder to six different devices,
with a seventh readying for launch. The company’s approach to
consumer consent is to be in-your-face when you install its app,
and it offers periodic reminders, and options to opt-in or out,
based on certain milestones of activity, distance, sleep, or even
your device’s battery level. Instead of being product-centric, the
company is consumer-centric. Instead of operating from fear, it
brings privacy and data out of the shadows and puts it front and
center, where it gives users clarity and ease of choice.
Lee: It’s not only about consent. The privacy issue will be
questioned because of tracking and shared information. It is the
responsibility of the marketer to create policies of best practices
and to adhere to the FTC barometer. That being said, with the
changes in our political climate, there may be more leeway and
less regulation with this new administration.
Lyons: Nielsen has an app you can download to your phone,
where you consent to its data collection, providing the user with
an incentive of up to $50 per year to do so. That is a good example of an effective consent and collection mechanism.
With security breaches and hacking making
more headlines, what are the most effective
data security measures that marketers and
their agencies/vendors are using to ensure
the safety of customer data?
Koeppel: With high-profile hacks — from Target to the
Democratic National Committee — making big news, it’s obvious that no individual or institution is invulnerable to this sort
of sabotage. Given how this sort of problem is escalating, it’s
clear that security is a moving target and — with apologies to
Mr. Popeil — there is no “set it and forget it.” As some data security experts advise, it’s “lather, rinse, and repeat.”
Lee: The bigger issue is the truthfulness of what is being presented as news online. Aside from security breaches and hacking, as a marketer it is alarming how gullible and impressionable
the consumer has become. It’s just as important to educate the
consumer on what is true, and how to fact check information, as
it is to install measures to combat data hacking and breaches.
The key is not only for the marketer to ensure customer data
safety but also consumers should update passwords, keep software up to date, and make sure Wi-Fi networks are protected.
Where banks and financial institutions have addressed this issue
and adhered to protection of consumer data, retail establishments, hospitals, and e-commerce sites need to step up their
Lyons: There is no silver bullet solution here, in terms of
100-percent protection against data breaches, as the tools hackers use evolve quickly. However, essential tools that marketers
and their agencies must use to fight against this risk include
sound IT infrastructure, continuous monitoring, and employee
education on security measures. ;
For the complete and unabridged answers to these questions from
our Advisory Board, find the March issue online now at www.