Grown-Up Digital Consent â Easy as ABC? | DMA

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Grown-Up Digital Consent â Easy as ABC?


To those of us living and working in London, events of the last few weeks have been a tsunami of disruption on many fronts. What seemed a forgone conclusion to those in our cosmopolitan bubble was replaced by a new political landscape post-Brexit, uncertainty in the financial markets and general re-evaluation of our place in the world.

This ‘All Change’ applies to my personal journey: as one of my daughters starts secondary school, and (eagerly) trades her rock T-Shirts and Converse for the uniform of a traditional girls’ grammar, another moves up from nursery to the primary school her sister just vacated. A shift from wet play and songs to the more measured atmosphere of aptitude tests and reports awaits her.

At this point, after a good decade and a half of digital marketing activity, run alongside Founder of a Data Privacy start-up for the past five, it seems a good point in time to make some professional predictions and pin my own colours to the mast.

Like many of those working on behalf of clients, I became actively aware of the paradox at heart of internet marketing through the EU Cookie Law. The very thing which makes Digital so powerful, and now pervasive is immediacy and reach to the individual, irrespective of context.

Conversely, it’s this same connection which can make digital marketing efforts super-clunky when done thoughtlessly, and creepy when the tech tries too hard to mimic the relationships we choose to build and nurture in business, as in life.

As both symptom and agent of this growing awareness regulators have sought to moderate the relationship between human, data and algorithm via the Cookie Law, EU GDPR and most recently E-Privacy Directive.

Put in this context, the impact of Brexit is secondary to the realisation among brands with whom we work that much remedial work is needed to secure and govern their digital estate in terms of Data Privacy.

More recently, the debate has moved on to how the relationship between content, advertiser and consumer can be reworked to benefit all parties. The rise of ad-blocking technology should not be seen as the actions of content ‘blackmailers’, rather a symptom of what’s broken with the existing model – lousy user experience, especially on mobile, and advertisers being ripped off.

There may be a learning point to these extended ‘growing pains’. Just as the notion of complementary, Cognitive Technology gives me hope my daughters will find meaningful engagement in society throughout their adult years, a way for us all to navigate the Content/Consent minefield appears to be presenting itself.

In a measured, tracked world the biggest challenge in marketing today is not getting information on customers and prospects; that’s easy. It’s getting and keeping permission to use that info.

Just as early Content Management platforms such as Moonfruit liberated marketers from the bottleneck of hand-coding content, if you can add third-party Verified Consent to your digital activity now, then you can focus on the task at hand – engaging people.

In the same way that SSL operates or digital payments are handled by dedicated 3rd parties in all but the most critical corporate and government functions, Consent Management should not be the responsibility of all organisations, but those with the right skills and tools.

To this end, I predict the mists around Data Privacy will clear as the notion of Verified Consent crystallises in both the marketplace, and the public consciousness.

I’m optimistic for the future, and to that end myself and the team at Optanon are extending our pilot scheme to subscribers throughout the rest of this year. We’ll be sure to share our experiences from the next stage of the journey…

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