Organisations must build a bond of trust with consumers around the use of their data, writes Louisa Osmond, director, Eulogy!
"Viva Las Vegas!" and "We are DMA!", were the rallying cries echoing around Mandalay Bay resort last week, but now that the 10,000 delegates, 500 speakers and 2,000 exhibitors that descended on DMA 2012 have dispersed and are back at their desks - a few dollars poorer if the casinos had anything to do with it - this week it is time to reflect on what was learnt and to put it all into practice.
The conference, billed as a global trade show, attracted DMers from all corners of the world including a healthy contingent of jet lagged UK representatives from organisations including Callcredit, The REaD Group, Cyance, KBMG Wunderman, G2, Mardev and Media Lab.
And the good news for the UK industry is that the consensus from all countries gathered is that we are currently leading the field in terms of technology, implementation and general marketing theory. However, before getting self congratulatory, there was still an awful lot to learn.
With over 150 sessions, five keynotes, 30 plus parties and scores of networking opportunities to choose from, determining what to attend proved more difficult than expected.
However, you could bet your bottom dollar that wherever you went big data was never far from the agenda - you only need to review Twitter and #bigdata to see how often the topic was discussed.
And the debate raged as to what the implications of big data would mean in 2013. Whether you love it or hate it and think it is the latest snake oil for marketers one theme trumped them all - the responsibility of marketers in using data and safeguarding their customers’ privacy; in other words understanding the line between targeted and downright creepy.
What has been called Zuckerberg's Law states that in a 20 year period the level of interaction people have with each other and brands multiplies by a thousand.
With increased interaction comes an increased expectation on brands to cope with this interaction and respond back. This is why honesty will be the driving force of competitive advantage in the future.
Organisations that do not forge a bond of trust with their customers will die. Each of us should be striving to make our organisations the most trustworthy business in our sector or category, because each time our business does not act in the interest of its clients or customers we erode a little bit of our organisation's value.
We should want our customers to want to give us their business because they actively want us to succeed. It goes beyond ethical business practices, but empathetic business practices.
Companies must put themselves in the shoes of their customers and ensure that the organisation is treating them as they themselves would wish to be treated. Trustability will largely be driven by perception.
It was therefore fortuitous that whilst in Vegas, DMA USA held a press conference to announce a $1 million initiative called Data Driven Marketing Institute - DDMI. The focus will lie heavily on consumer research in order to educate consumers on how their personal data is used by marketers.
The campaign will also include a lobbying effort to drum up support around Congress. A key concern to come out of the conference was continued governmental interest in marketing regulation and legislation.
Furthermore, with increased collaboration amongst global DMAs, the campaign should also serve to provide the UK market with valuable insight, meaning that if our time in Vegas was anything to go by, 2013 will be the year that big data stops being discussed theoretically and starts being implemented ethically.