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The New Data Economy: Experience Needed

Bryan DonovanJuly 17, 2018

Never has data been created at the escalating pace it is today. Organizations around the world are accumulating an incredible amount of data. Leveraging these assets to participate in the new data economy, whether by monetizing data or forming second-party data partnerships, has become a widely recognized way to gain competitive advantage.

But the fact is, this is easier said than done. Buying, selling and sharing data is not a simple process – there’s a lot of tedious work involved that goes beyond most marketers’ expertise (or interest). Even if they have the right skill set, using data to create exceptional customer experiences is a full-time job. Finding new ways to use data to continually enhance those interactions should be one of marketers’ primary areas of focus, and anything that pulls their attention away from that responsibility will result in less relevant and effective marketing. So who has the bandwidth to do the “dirty” data work?

Fortunately, transforming data into value through second-party arrangements can be enabled through the same partners marketers use for third-party data services. In fact, there is a sizable overlap between the capabilities required to make third-party data available and to build privacy-compliant second-party data relationships. Let’s cover a few.

Ethical data sourcing and use

To monetize and share data, marketers need to ensure their first-party data meets today’s standards for ethical data collection, including identifying the sources and provenance of data, confirming proper notice and choice, obtaining appropriate consumer consent and achieving compliance with security and privacy regulations. Proper data sourcing is critical to preventing inappropriate uses of data that can damage brands’ (and their partners’) reputations.

Acxiom, for example, is a leader in ethical data use and is deeply committed to protecting consumer rights. We use a thorough credentialing process to vet every data supplier and data source used in our third-party data offerings, and we apply this same level of rigor when advising clients that are pursuing data monetization initiatives. The right partner will facilitate marketers’ ability to source data ethically and make it easier to share their first-party data with business partners in a privacy-compliant manner.

Data curation and commerce

Not all first-party data is immediately desirable to prospective business partners. Organizations must first be able to identify which data sets will be most valuable, knowing they are often located in different parts of the organizations. Then they must structure and package this data so it can be easily exchanged. Acxiom adopts a similar approach for its third-party data offerings, ensuring clients receive clean, enhanced and market-ready data that’s updated frequently and in the right format.

Additionally, key infrastructure elements, such as terms and conditions, contracting, billing and permissions, need to be in place to support the flow of data. Partners like Acxiom that do all of the above for third-party data transactions can easily extend these capabilities to support a brand’s second-party data sharing needs.

Data integration and management

Acxiom believes clients should be able to integrate data and systems without having to modify their existing best-of-breed platforms and tools. Through an open garden approach we can work with a wide range of platforms, connecting at the data layer to facilitate a variety of use cases that evolve over time.

Acxiom can also use the same delivery mechanisms to enable second- and third-party data sharing. We also leverage APIs to assist in marketers’ efforts to create a single view of the customer using identity resolution or to share data products with business partners on behalf of clients. Automated scripts can also be used as an alternative to APIs once a data workflow is established.

Having the same provider manage a brand’s database and data sharing efforts on an ongoing basis also brings additional synergies and efficiencies. For example, Acxiom can provide operational support for data delivery to ensure the right subset of incoming first-party data flows is curated and packaged for sharing with select business partners (and vice versa). We can also ensure that data shared from a second-party partner is packaged optimally so it delivers the actionable insights expected.

To deliver next-generation marketing and drive new revenue streams, marketers need to be active participants in the new data economy. But their level of involvement does not need to – and should not – extend to doing the hard and complicated work necessary to monetize data. Third-party data providers like Acxiom already have the built-in capabilities and expertise to help marketers start and continue on their second-party data journey.