Is your business ready for the next phase of digital marketing?

Over recent years, the meaning of data has changed from a collection of facts and figures to become the currency of the digital marketing world. There is no doubt that the rise of data driven marketing has transformed marketing strategy and implementation as well as altered customer expectations. The development of a me-centric culture means that marketing information, products and services are increasingly tailored to the individual, but not everyone is comfortable with their information being used in this way.

Consumers and Internet users have expressed increasing levels of concern at the invasion of their online privacy and lack of control over the data that can be accessed by marketers. In response to this, services have started to appear that allow consumers to take ownership and exercise control over their own data.

These tools are known as personal clouds and they can be used across multiple devices. Although they are in their infancy, personal clouds allow users to gain access to their data so they can see how they are portrayed to marketers through their online activities. Users can also nominate who can see their data and when, and browse the Internet incognito if they don’t want their online activities to be tracked.

Although it is yet to become mainstream, many have predicted that personal cloud systems are going to take off in the near future, which will over time lead to ownership and control of data switching from the marketers and technology companies, to the consumers themselves.

What does this mean for marketers?

If access to personal data and consumers online is in the hands of the consumers, the value is going to be contained not in the data itself but in the consumer’s willingness to allow access to the data. This means brands are going to have to work harder to gain consumers’ trust and build relationships.

When businesses want consumers to allow them access to their data, there will need to be a clear benefit to the consumer. In exchange for access to their data, brands are going to need to provide something of value and this requirement is likely to lead to major alterations in marketing strategy.

Currently, much of the data driven marketing world depends on interruptive marketing and techniques like retargeting that follow users around the Internet and display ads wherever they are. These strategies are likely to lose their effectiveness as consumers take increasing control over their personal data and could potentially become obsolete.

It may sound like a long way off, but change is occurring at an ever-increasing rate. As a business owner or marketer it never hurts to be aware of potential future developments so that you can avoid being caught unawares. Personal clouds, when they do take off, are likely to change the landscape of digital marketing and usher in a new phase. Thinking about how you can handle this new phase now can let you hit the ground running if and when it happens so you won’t be left behind.

About the Author:

Jo Macdermott is the Chief Marketing Consultant at Next Marketing in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on Twitter here.