Data privacy is, as it should be, high on the minds of tech companies and the public at large. Unfortunately, much of the discussion of late has centered around controversies originating with the misuse or fraudulent nature of some data sources. But we shouldn’t let this cloud our collective judgment about how data can help businesses make better decisions.
When processes and strategies are in place to ensure the gathering and use of data is done responsibly, we can do right by consumers and brands. The benefits and opportunities made possible with accurate, well organized and actionable data will benefit the entire industry.
Brands must put data privacy at the forefront
Recently I was honored to speak at the Responsible AI/DI Summit where I addressed these issues and clarified the importance of brands ensuring that their consumer data strategies are a top priority. Brands have a responsibility to be forthright about the types of data they have access to, the permissible uses of that data and the value that data can provide. Developing data strategies that are useful but respectful to consumers must be at the forefront of every business today.
Brands are under tremendous pressure to make quick and important decisions based on data, but they shouldn’t lose sight of the trust that is placed in them and their partners to be transparent about what data is being used, how it will be used and how it will be gathered. And, with a supercomputer in every consumer’s pocket, data is available at a rate never seen before. When combined with the processing power to make sense of it, businesses can make smart, responsible use of the latest in AI technology to target and segment their audiences with strategies that prove to be a pragmatic approach to reaching their current and even new customers. Though consumers today remain weary of how brands are using their data, they are also more willing to engage with trusted brands who handle their information responsibly and provide more tailored and customized experiences. According to Accenture, 92 percent of U.S. consumers believe it’s extremely important for companies to safeguard their information, though 44 percent of U.S. consumers are frustrated when companies fail to deliver relevant and customized experiences.
Balancing trust with providing personalized experiences is something that any retailer handling consumer data today must understand as a business imperative.
Healthy approaches to data framework
To reach the full potential with the aid of data, businesses must also adhere to a healthy approach that accurately weighs the authenticity and quality of data available. Before data can be applied to business decisions, it must be refined, analyzed and measured against specific business challenges.
Once data is ingested and stored, it is critical for enterprises to remove low-quality data and refine the remaining data into usable, contextualized data sets that can be applied to analyze a number of key business challenges. Raw, unfiltered data will lead to confusion. But data that is scored, screened, filtered and then contextualized can be leveraged for high-level analysis that will reflect optimum levels of confidence for an organization and its partners.
Data should empower confident business decisions
Mobile location data is among the most rich and impactful datasets available today and when businesses analyze it effectively and responsibly they can compare different opportunities, such as prospective store locations, product localization strategies and holiday promotions.
In 2018, with Amazon knocking on every retailer’s front door with a commanding share of the ecommerce market, the strategies put in place to gain a competitive advantage should without a doubt include a thoughtful marketing strategy that encompasses responsible data practices.
Businesses of all types should embrace the use of data and be focused in their approach. Don’t let a few bad apples or outright nefarious examples of data manipulation cause you to miss out on this opportunity. Understanding the benefits and challenges of data is key, and the sooner enterprises understand this dynamic the better. In today’s diverse marketplace, businesses need data solutions that empower them to anticipate and respond to many circumstances and challenges.
The types and lasting effect of decisions that enterprises must make are expanding and if a leader doesn’t have all the available information to make those decisions it can hurt their business and customers. If you aren’t considering all the options and ways in which data can help you, I strongly encourage you to embrace the challenge and learn how the responsible use of data can reinforce your principles and help your business grow.
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