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"Data suppliers must stop hiding if we are to build public trust in data sharing"

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For many businesses, data, and the insights they derive from it, is one of their greatest assets, if not their most valuable. In some instances, this data is the only asset they have. Over the past 18 months, data has only become more important to business survival, especially SMEs and start-ups. Data insight drives effective customer engagement, marketing and communications – it is essential for connecting with new and existing customers.

It is no secret that data-driven organisations perform more effectively than non-data-driven companies. The better the quality of data, the more accurate insights we acquire about prospective and existing customers, which leads to more informed decisions that benefit all parties. Data companies are key to providing these insights, especially for SMEs who may be unable to acquire sufficient data for prospective customers on their own and be able to compete with larger, more established organisations.

Trust is important in all walks of life – but it is essential to the smooth running of the digital economy and for sustainable business growth. If we are to build public trust in data sharing, organisations must be transparent, accountable, and values driven – this includes data companies. We must show consumers that data insights are used to serve them better.

Data suppliers must help inspire change

Historically, data companies have hidden in the background, rather than raising their heads above the parapets, but it’s important someone takes the lead – Go Live Data wants to be that voice of change. We are huge advocates of having a values-based approach to data privacy and that is why we are supporting the Data & Marketing Association’s (DMA) Value of Data campaign.

Data must not just be GDPR compliant, we have to go further to ensure it creates the best opportunities, at the right times, to an audience who will truly benefit from engagement. Being able to rely on the data you hold is key to effective marketing and customer engagement. Data suppliers should not focus their business models on selling the most data to a client, it has to be the most relevant data. This will help organisations to build long-term, sustainable relationships with clients.

As data suppliers, we all have a responsibility to ensure companies that we partner with use data responsibly and ethically. Similarly, organisations seeking data suppliers must ensure that they are values-driven and put the customer first. The most effective data companies will keep in mind the recipients who clients are trying to communicate with and make sure they put their rights and preferences first.

Education is of paramount importance here. Therefore, data suppliers also have a duty to work closely with the wider data and marketing industry to help educate other stakeholders. For example, what can data be used for to benefit society? How are we protecting consumers? Why must we find a better balance between innovation and privacy? How are we developing best practice?

We have huge role to play in educating the public, businesses and government about how effective and responsible our practices can be. This will increase transparency, accountability and build trust across the industry – further regulation must be seen as a last resort. To this end, Go Live Data will be working with the DMA over the coming months to develop learning material, webinars and thought-leadership content.

Our industry needs to arrive at a point where businesses are interacting with customers in all kinds of meaningful ways, using data to create a variety of unique experiences. This can only be achieved if we build public trust in data, so it is time for all areas of the data and marketing industry to work together.

Data suppliers must stop hiding in the shadows if we are to truly build public trust in data sharing. Rather than shying away from the elephant in the room, we must educate, innovate and prioritise ethics (and ethical frameworks) – there is real value to having values and so we must showcase them!

Authored by Adam Herbert, CEO of Go Live Data

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