I wrote this in January 2012, after years of closely following Adriana‘s efforts to convince companies to let users access their raw data. At this point, with the fear-mongering happening in the press, I’m afraid that it will only happen by force when regulators make it the law.
In the not so distant past, I’ve encountered brands that carried out huge, costly campaigns without ever tracking a byte of data. Today, doing so would be grounds for immediate termination (or at least it should be). Yet users (by which I mean customers) are expected to go without their data as a matter of course.
Not so long ago, only those who possessed HTML coding skills could have their say online. Today, for better or for worse, the proliferation of easy-to-use platforms and apps has enabled anyone to publish, share, and drive commerce.
How many companies wish they’d been out in front of this shift? Remember what a buzz term “user generated content” used to be? Yeah, nobody really utters that phrase anymore because the demand side supplying itself is now the norm.
Yet data literacy is almost nil in our culture. There are huge opportunities there, for marketers as well as customers. Nike+ is extremely cool, but it’s just a start. There’s a wide open field for leaders to emerge. I hope they do, and quickly, before hysteria over privacy takes us to a deeply uncomfortable – and unprofitable – place.