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Editor’s Note: Data and Targeting, and Power and Responsibility

1 Feb, 2017 By: Thomas Haire Response


In late January, I was on a phone call with a marketing leader who is both a prospective speaker for April’s Response Expo and a candidate for a cover feature in an upcoming issue of Response Magazine. During the conversation — which segued into a chat about the current state of marketing, both online and offline — the topic turned to the opportunities presented by media buys on Facebook, Google, and more.

On the other end of the phone, this working CMO raved about the partnerships and insights that mark his company’s relationship with Facebook. “A shift in how we can truly target and measure,” was a phrase that came up more than once.

Around the same time, a Facebook friend — a friend dating back to high school, actually — posted a story on his feed from news website Vice (https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/big-data-cambridge-analytica-brexit-trump) about how data and targeting by minute detail may have played a major role in both the Brexit and Trump campaigns in 2016. For anyone who follows marketing and technology — let alone follows it for a living — the basics about data and targeting in the story aren’t unfamiliar. However, read as a consumer and a citizen, the story could be seen to confirm the fears of many in this era of Big Data.

It’s no shock that consumer privacy and data security continue to be two of the biggest stories that marketers must follow. With January’s change in the presidential administration in Washington, a number of issues directly affecting marketers — net neutrality, recent disconnects between regulatory bodies on broadband privacy, data-breach legislation at both the state and national levels, and more — are on the verge of some major shifts.

While we work hard to keep you abreast of the news in these crucial areas — mainly via our weekly e-newsletter Response This Week — we’re also working both in these pages and behind the scenes to make sure that you receive the analysis you need, as well.

In next month’s issue, for instance, our Response Advisory Board will tackle privacy and data security in its first quarterly Advisors Forum of 2017. At the same time, we have been in contact with representatives of various industry associations who lobby both in Washington and at the state level on behalf of marketers and the supply chain. The goal in these conversations is to remain a step ahead of where we need to be in order to keep you up to date as regulations shift and powerful opportunities follow.

The idea that “with power comes responsibility” — words attributed to sources as diverse as Voltaire and Spider-Man — is an old one. In fact, a precursor of the concept can be found in the Bible (“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded …” Luke 12:48). It’s an idea that marketers who crave deregulation should be as willing to carry a torch for as they might for the opportunity to target their perfect customer.

Thomas Haire, Editor-in-Chief

Twitter: @THRants


About the Author: Thomas Haire

Thomas Haire

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