The Direct Marketing Association, a national trade organization for the marketing industry, recently published a study outlining the importance of consumer marketing data to the U.S. economy. Among other things, the study addresses the financial value of consumer data marketplaces -- exchanges where large consumer data companies buy and sell consumer profiles.
The Study's Findings
The study was led by business professors, John Deighton, of Harvard University, and Peter Johnson, of Columbia University. The study's findings claim that the date driven marketing economy created as many as 675,000 jobs, and added $156 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012. The study recognizes the value of data driven marketing as a significant part of both the national and global economies. Though the study is in part, itself, self-promotion for the data marketing industry, it's also intended to help quell a barrage of criticism from federal regulators. The Senate Commerce Committee and the Federal Trade Commission have already opened investigations into the practices of so-called information resellers, while the Government Accountability Office is also purported to be looking into the matter.
How Your Information is Used
Companies collect information from consumers with nearly every interaction, be it opening a bank account, applying for a payday loan, purchasing a TV, or even contacting customer service. Much of this information has little or no privacy safeguards associated with it, which allows companies to freely sell or lease it to other companies who may have an interest in it. The study emphasizing the importance of this exchange of information, argues that if this practice becomes too regulated by the federal government, it could result in lost revenue and jobs. The idea behind this conclusion, is that the regulation-free exchange of this information allows businesses and entrepreneurs to quickly bring products to their targeted customer-base, and without this data driven marketing economy, many would fail to reach that audience.
Taking Control of Your Privacy
A part of the Direct Marketing Association's defense against regulation, is allowing consumers to opt-out of being a part of the industry. Though, realistically the DMA is dependent upon this information to remain in business. In addition to the ability to opt-out, some data collection firms also allow users to correct, remove, or change the information in their profile. While most people want to maintain a certain degree of privacy, as consumers we also want to be able to efficiently and effectively be connected with the information we need to make the right purchasing decisions.
Highlights from the Data-Driven Marketing Economy Infographic.
- The DDME is portrayed a uniquely American commodity and an important U.S. export.
- Addressing the potential costs of cutting off the flow of marketing data.
- Focus on presenting factual evidence to the benefits of direct marketing.
- The history of direct marketing suggests an even more promising future for digital data.
- The prospect that marketing data is equally useful and empowering to consumers.
- Innovation and small business benefits the most from the free exchange of marketing data.