KeyholeData_Eye_PrivacyConsumer privacy is about to take center stage in social media marketing.  In 2010 we flowed to the questions about how to establish an ROI and tool vendors responded in droves to help companies uncover and manage the mountains of data.  ROI has become an underpinning of social marketing now primarily because social media is probably the most measurable form of media ever.  It’s the right move to quantify it and connect it to actual revenue for both online as well as offline vendors.

2011 will be the year that focuses on who really owns the data about the consumer though; the ramifications will be felt throughout advertising and marketing from now on.  The vendors that support transparency in the consumer dataset will prosper; those that do not give consumers access and control over their data will diminish.

The drivers for this initiative are varied, but let there be no mistake that the consumer will want to be in charge of their data.  I’ve been following the posts in the ProjectVRM usegroup that Doc Searles and a number of others have generated on Vendor Relationship Management (VRM), which in it’s simplest terms is CRM stood on it’s head – the conversations are very forward leaning in terms of where we’re going and what’s possible even today. 

ODP_LogoA Wall Street Journal series has been tackling the issue and the article by Emile Steele outlines a new initiative from several industry data collecting companies.  It is going under the name of the ‘Better Advertising Project’ (BAP) and the Open Data Partnership (ODP).  The partnership is promising to provide consumers the ability to:

  • get a snapshot of the information that companies have collected about their interests
  • gain more control over that information, from editing to opting out

It looks like they are trying to get in-front of  the rising consumer sentiment around their privacy by providing an opt out capability; notably absent from the list of participants are Google and Microsoft / Yahoo however.

I think BAP will be successful in providing consumers an opt-out capability in alignment with the FTC guidelines, but I think there will be a good deal more noise in 2011 and businesses will want to make sure they dodge this bullet by making their involvement with BAP noticeable from day 1.