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A single customer view IS attainable - it’s up to marketers to work harder for it.

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During a recent presentation at Marketing Week Live, Camelot insight chief Nick Bonney made the claim that (in his mind) a true single customer view is unattainable. "Consumers are starting to say 'we do not want you to take my behaviour and know everything about me'," he continues.

Bonney is right up to a point. Consumer concerns around data collection and data privacy do still exist. Consumers don't like it when information is shared with 3rd parties, or when retargeted ads follow them around the internet, or a website already knows their location.

Why these concerns still exist and why this may affect may affect a true single customer view are closely related.

A 2013 study by IAB UK into data privacy concerns showed that:

  • 44% of respondents were aware of data being used to serve relevant content
  • 71% wanted to know how to control the data privacy &
  • 75% said companies need to be clearer about what kind of data they hold

Based on this study, we only have ourselves to blame for poor consumer attitudes toward data collection and privacy. We haven't done a good enough job of making consumers aware of why we are collecting data, what data we are collecting, how, and what it will be used for.

The recently introduced Australian Privacy Principles have gone some way in providing sensible guidelines around data collection and privacy. Unfortunately this has gone unnoticed by 70% of the general population as well.

It's an interesting dilemma for the marketing and advertising industry. How much of our resources can we, or should we, devote to marketing ourselves as responsible collectors and users of consumer data?

The second part of Bonney's argument as to why a single customer view is unattainable deals with implementation, or consumer engagement - pointing out that many people often forget or cannot be bothered using a loyalty card at the register.

Again, if that is the case (I'm yet to track down his presentation to reference the data behind this claim), then who is to blame here? Immediately there is an opportunity to those running the loyalty program to look at why people aren't using it, and implement a better setup for customer redemption.

I haven't seen anything in Bonney's argument that cannot be solved by a proactive marketing and advertising industry.

The data suggests that this is an industry-made problem (I don't like the word 'problem'; I prefer to call them 'opportunities').

A true single customer view, with great benefits to the consumer and to clients is very much attainable. All it comes down to is how seriously we are about addressing the opportunity.

Name: Daniel Dewar


My time in the digital industry: 3 + years


My mission at Datalicious:
Build a data knowledge base for the industry. Be an innovator of agency marketing and raise brand awareness.


My special blog topics:
Data analysis, web analytics, media attribution, marketing strategy


Digital trend I'm most excited about:
The democratisation of data. There is still a large knowledge gap for most users between the data that's available and how that can be best used – it's an exciting time for people like me who want to fill that gap.


Brand whose marketing I admire:
Buffer, Nike, Oreo (the rainbow Oreo!


Favourite digital campaign of all times:Close the Gap. Not purely digital, however it put an issue very close to me very much front and centre in Australia. The phrase 'closing the gap' entered the lexicon because of this campaign and helped shaped COAG policy.


Digital tool/gadget I cannot live without:


HTC One + these apps: Any.do, Pocket, Buffer, Agenda, Twitter (despite the noise)


If I wasn't working in digital, I would be...:
A sound designer in film & television (what I used to be).

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