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The Human Future of Data

  • Lorel Wilhelm-Volpi

    Lorel Wilhelm-Volpi

Created at October 14th, 2020

The Human Future of Data

In mid-September we hosted our second Future of Data Summit, with sessions ranging from the future of data and identity, paths to COVID-19 recovery for brands, a legislative outlook and data security. You should absolutely check out the on-demand sessions.

Interestingly, throughout the wide variety of topics covered, one theme emerged time and again: people should be at the heart of your marketing and advertising efforts. Before you roll your eyes and say, “Duh!” let me explain. 

There’s a lot happening in the marketing and advertising ecosystem, and it’s very easy to double down on new tech or new ideas or new channels. In fact when Acxiom CEO Chad Engelgau presented on the future of data in our industry, he called out all these major developments, which are only a snapshot of things happening now:

  • A major ad delivery system (third-party cookies) is being discontinued 
  • Apple announced it will no longer share mobile IDs with advertisers
  • Regulatory measures are being proposed that would radically change the way we operate 
  • Data security attacks are at an all-time high 

Despite this, Chad emphasized our belief that people will reward brands that invest in positive experiences for them. People are still people. They want to be treated well. 

Our top industry strategists spoke about the trends they’re seeing in their respective industries as a result of the pandemic. Their consistent recommendation, irrespective of market, was to invest in intelligence and customer experience to propel your brand out of this  economic slump. Basically, to make sure people are finding real value in your offers. 

In light of this spotlight focused on the need to keep people at the heart of your data strategy, I thought it would be helpful to look at some organizations that are doing a fantastic job of providing value for their customers, especially when the world as we know it has been turned on its head. 

Auto Insurers

Auto insurers including State Farm, Geico, and a host of others, led the way by surprising clients with unexpected premium returns this spring and summer, leaving other insurers to learn from them and determine what they can do to create unanticipated value for their customers. While insurance has probably not been at the top of most people’s minds, financial uncertainty has, which is why State Farm’s decision to reduce auto coverage rates was a timely and appreciated move. 

Professional Sports

Bubble or no bubble, canceled games or perfectly on schedule, the return of professional sports has given people a bit of normalcy, even if different than before (talk about an oxymoron!). The willingness of players, staff and others to change their behavior to stay healthy and give fans a season to enjoy at home, while keeping related businesses afloat, is a bright spot this year. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be watching the next game of the NBA finals. 

Retailers with BOPIS

Unfamiliar with that acronym? I had to look it up too, and learned it was something I’ve been using more than ever in recent months – buy online, pick up in store. It’s the best of both worlds – the immediacy of buying local with the convenience of sifting through your options – or remembering your weekly grocery list – online. I’ve really appreciated retailers that have invested in these options for people to safely shop during the pandemic. 

While none of us has a crystal ball, it is helpful to understand what the experts are seeing and how they think successful brands will come through these uncharted waters. We can learn from past crises like the financial meltdown of 2008, and current best practices, like applying direct marketing best practices to our digital efforts, to create opportunities from these challenging times. 

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