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Posted by Fatemeh Khatibloo on September 6, 2013
Yesterday, Acxiom, one of the world's largest data brokers and a key player in the marketing services ecosystem, launched an important new consumer service (still in Beta) called "About The Data." It's an initiative to show consumers some of the data that Acxiom has compiled about them, to provide education around how certain types of data are sourced and used, and to let users correct and/or suppress the use of these datapoints for marketing purposes.
This is a big deal. Why? Because it's pushing Acxiom (and, frankly, the entire third-party data industry) way out of its comfort zone on a few levels.
Suffice it to say that there are lots of places that the initiative could fall apart, but I think Acxiom really does want this to succeed. (Full disclosure: I was granted an early preview of the portal about a month ago and, best I can tell, Acxiom has implemented some of my suggestions). So what else could Acxiom do to increase the value and success of AboutTheData? Here are a few thoughts:
I give Acxiom a lot of credit for taking the plunge, before they were required to. And, I think this will force the hand of other data brokers -- whether they provide consumer data or business data -- to create similar portals. I think that these firms could materially shift the direction of marketing for the better: more effective, more efficient, more relevant, and ultimately more desirable.
But the long-term success of AboutTheData, and initiatives like it, will hinge on consumer awareness and trust, and marketers' acceptance that transparency and choice really are the path to better customer engagement and loyalty.
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