Alex Steer

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Giving away your data: Just say no

369 words | ~2 min

I spend a lot of time listening to pitches by media companies and tech companies. These pitches are directed at marketers, and they normally go a bit like this:

  1. Consumers are spending more and more time online.
  2. Media spend is following them.
  3. Consumers are demanding more and more from brands, faster and faster.
  4. And marketers are under more and more pressure to demonstrate ROI.
  5. You need a technology platform that lets you build rich experiences fast - and measure the results.
  6. Our platform lets you build fabulous interactive brand experiences.

So what's wrong with this picture? It sounds great, but there's a big unanswered question.

Who controls it?

Before you sign on the line, bear in mind that when a lot of these companies put your digital campaigns or products on their platforms, they own the data that comes out of those platforms. That often means you can only get access to standard reports, containing the metrics the platform providers want to give you. And, of course, if you're running multiple campaigns on different platforms, you end up with ten different reports, using ten different sets of metrics, that you can't necessarily compare. Not to mention the fact that the platform owners can change the rules of the game and really stitch you up.

I'm pretty sure the arguments new media companies are using to pitch their platforms are the same as were used to pitch TV in the 50s. And we know what happened there: agencies selling clients a hell of a lot of TV work because they were being paid a fixed share of the media billings - rather than the channel mix that will get the best results.

It's that, but far more fragmented these days. Many platforms, many tech standards, lots of isolated data pools, and a lot of competing sales pitches. So before you rush into a platform tie-up, make sure you're not giving your data away or locking yourself into a world of proprietary pain. And makes sure the people doing your data strategy and digital comms planning aren't making money selling certain platforms or media packages.

# Alex Steer (11/06/2012)