Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Data Transparency

This month’s Wired edition (http://www.wired.com/wired/) writes extensively about the need of organizations and companies to be more transparent than ever. One of the key drivers is the fact that no one can hide anything anymore due to the constant publication of any kind of information on the Web, accelerated through all Search Engine’s ability to connect anyone with almost any kind of information. Wired’s Clive Thomson correctly summarizes is with “Google is not a Search Engine. It’s a reputation management system”.

How can we marketing analysts be in the avant-garde position of this more and more dominating pattern? I am making a couple of suggestions:
  • Make all marketing data accessible to anyone within your organization. What Google has done for all publicly available information, we need to do for any kind of marketing information within our firms. The Marketing Insights or Analytical division has to become the “Internal Google” (I call this the Internal Transparence layer)
  • Broaden the available data points and insights for partners of your organization or firm, all with the intent to be more transparent allowing partners to act smarter. What major retailer have done on the supply chain by sharing information with their supplying partners, we have to do with all the marketing partners in our particular marketing eco system. (I call this the Partner Transparence layer).
  • Engage the Consumer in a dialog of transparency. While protecting the privacy of our consumers, we have to be more aggressive in sharing aggregated marketing data with our consumers. Why wouldn’t we share how our brand is perceived, how our marketing programs are performing, how we are utilizing marketing dollars to improve the brand-consumer interaction? It’s not about communicating confidential information but allowing consumers to be better informed about marketing of a particular brand (I call this the Consumer Transparence layer).

If we would believe Thomson’s longer term prediction, then the differences between these three layers will dissolve completely over time. Everyone will have sufficient access to any kind of marketing data while protecting privacy concerns. I don’ think this will happen any time soon but at least in the short and medium term, we should focus on improving our transparency in all three described layers.


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