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February newsletter: Ideas for growth and competitive edge

Posted on: Thursday 23rd of February 2012

In this issue we highlight our forthcoming reports each of which delivers fresh insight into emerging markets. Also covered are some suggestions drawn from our recent research about what constitutes best practice in building positive, two-way data sharing customer relationships. The market round-up includes some of the key news this month.

Understanding growth markets

Over the next few months our research is focused on some of the new market opportunities emerging as a result of developments in the empowered consumer marketplace. Two new reports will provide evidence and analysis of the implications and possibilities created by developments across these different areas:

  • the rise of the new market for information, tools and services that enable people to make better decisions (published early March); and
  • the market for personal data stores or lockers, including analysis of the current players, their business models, technology and plans (published in April).

We’re also in the early stages of analysing the identity assurance market including evaluation of how it is likely to develop and where the opportunities lie. At the moment we’re receiving conflicting information about the growth of this market. One supplier says it is making inroads right now. Another says it will be three years until it takes off. A third organisation says it is waiting until Government plans become clear. If you can shed any light please get in touch.

Timeline for the control shift

At our recent Explorers’ Club event we, together with 25 knowledgeable attendees, mapped the timeline for the control shift as it relates to personal data. If you’d like to see some of the discussion graphic artist Joel Cooper captured the themes and aspects of the evolving story in a drawing. We’re currently developing the timeline into a useful Infographic for anyone that wants to explore and understand the changes that are taking place in the personal data landscape.

What’s best practice in data sharing?

In our research reviewing the data sharing practices of UK’s top 100 online retailers we came across a wide range of attitudes towards customer data. Some organisations stood out – for good reasons and bad.

So what makes a good data sharing approach? We suggest it is: when you can see the organisation is making an attempt to be open and transparent about how the company uses customers’ data (e.g. Sainsburys); is genuinely educative and informative about its policies and uses of data (e.g. Schuh); and provides customers with easy-to-use ways to express and change preferences and options. If an organisation is able to develop a two-way data sharing relationship where customers freely volunteer information about their goals, plans, priorities, preferences and circumstances it has the potential to save costs, increase revenues and set real time insight generation in motion.  

Our report ‘How customer friendly are retailers’ privacy policies?’ suggests some actions for organisations who want to improve their data sharing approach. The full Data Set which provides detailed scoring and commentary is available here.   

Highlights on our website         

There are two new items on our website we’d like to highlight. The first is a video in which the impact and opportunity created by Volunteered Personal Information (VPI) is outlined. Also if you’d like to take our VPI readiness test click here.

Continuing our series of blog posts on ‘5 ways to misdirect resources in 2012’, we’ve just published a blog post suggesting that if an organisation focuses solely on a multi-channel strategy they may ‘miss the point’. Rather businesses should re-think how to use all channels to improve customer metrics (thereby improving their own) and support individuals’ desire to make better decisions.      

Market news

In a recent blog post we covered some of the strategic questions arising as a result of the revised EU Data Protection legislation, including ‘what constitutes informed consent?’. The BBC issued a report about what the new laws mean for consumers.

This great video called Network explains how an average user ‘allows service provides to collect an average of 736 pieces of data accessed about them every day’.

There continues to be coverage of the emerging market for personal data lockers. The New York Times suggest these new services will allow people to take control of their personal data as well as perhaps profit from the digital trails that they leave.

Online privacy remains a hot topic, particularly following Google’s revamp of its privacy policy, and Facebook’s filing for an initial public offering. According to the FT Facebook “acknowledges that media coverage of privacy lapses, for example, could affect profits.” Apple has been accused of allowing apps to use and store personal data without gaining explicit approval. As the New York Times says ‘Disruptions: And The Privacy Gaps Just Keep On Coming”.