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Almost Timely News, 26 September 2021: Data Trends, AI Content Generation, Why I Love Data

Almost Timely News

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What’s On My Mind: Data Trends

At a recent internal corporate training I was giving, one of the attendees asked me what I thought the big trends in marketing data would be over the next five years. My tongue in cheek response to any question about the future these days is that I have no idea what will happen in the next five months, let alone years; the pandemic has upended literally every aspect of life in some way, making reliable prediction very difficult.

However, we don’t need to predict to know what’s going to happen. Some things are already set in motion, and it’s just a question of time for them to play out.

Data Quality Is Worsening

What do we know? We know that data quality is getting worse, thanks to technological changes like Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection, which distorts metrics like email marketing open rates.

We know many tracking mechanisms are beginning to degrade as more consumers use browsers like Firefox and Brave, which enable Do Not Track and enforce it better. Search engines like DuckDuckGo are more popular among some audiences for their privacy-enhancing features, and savvier consumers may use those search engines, limiting the information we collect passively.

We know geolocation data is becoming more difficult with technologies like VPNs and Apple’s new iCloud Private Relay – and that will show up as distorted information in software like Google Analytics.

From a technology standpoint, our ability to collect clean, usable data passively about our audiences is getting worse.

Privacy Legislation Is Strengthening

Over the past few years, marketing has had to contend with a number of privacy enhancements such as the EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA. These legislative accomplishments – which strengthen consumers’ rights to privacy and how our data is used by companies – were just the tip of the iceberg.

In the next few months or years, new legislation will be coming into effect, including:

  • DSL and PIPL: This is the Data Security Law and the Personal Information Protection Law of China – similar to GDPR but with stricter measures and stronger penalties, including prosecution of company executives. Like GDPR, it applies to any company doing business with anyone in China, including international companies. Takes effect November 1, 2021.
  • CPRA: The California Privacy Rights Act further enhances privacy first defined in CCPA and targets automated decision making, clearly defines consent, and most important, covers the SHARING of data, not just the selling of it, which will make things like co-registration slightly more onerous for companies. Takes effect January 1, 2023.
  • CDPA: This is Virginia’s version of CCPA and requires separate processing of sensitive data, protecting it and requiring active consent. Takes effect January 1, 2023.
  • Colorado SB190: This is Colorado’s spin on CCPA, and while slightly different than Virginia’s, has mostly the same overlap except for much higher penalties ($20K per user per violation). Takes effect July 1, 2023.

The patchwork quilt of legislation appearing throughout the world means that marketers will have their hands full figuring out what is permitted and where; laws in the EU have different requirements than laws in PRC, and even state to state within the United States, laws will vary.

From a legal standpoint, however, the trend is clear: consumers don’t want us collecting or using data without their permission.

What Do The Trends Mean?

The short version is this: the data quality we get from non-consented information – information about our audience that they do not voluntarily, actively give us – is going to get worse. That’s the big trend over the next few years, powered by both technological and legal restrictions.

What’s exempt from all of this? Information our audiences give us voluntarily, with informed consent. When someone fills out a form, as long as we tell them in clear, plain language how we’ll use their information, we can use it for those purposes and its quality will be higher than passively guessing who they might be.

This is why it’s so important for us to have a brand and publishing strategy (from a couple of newsletter issues ago). If we build relationships with our audiences, then when we need information from them, we’re more likely to get it – accompanied by the consent we’ll need to use it. The less consent you earn, the harder it will be for you to obtain usable information to market to your audience.

If you’re not focused on building awareness and trust with your audience as KPIs (along with business metrics like leads and revenue), you will be behind the 8-ball in the years to come.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to suggest only one of these articles to read from this week, it would be the piece on why AI will not be creating great content any time soon. The reason isn’t because AI isn’t capable of it, it’s because we have so little of it to train on. Read the article for a couple of examples; the final food for thought in the article is the part you should be worried most about.

Skill Up With Free Classes

These are just a few of the free classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

Thank You Notes

These are the places you’ve had or mentioned me – on your podcast, on your blog, in your newsletter. Thank you!

What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Advertisement: AI For Marketers, Third Edition

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Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

Ad: Create Better Content with AI

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Good Reads, Long Reads, Interesting Stuff

Fun, Games, and Entertainment

Economics, Politics, Environment, and Society

Ad: How to Prove the ROI of your Marketing Agency

I put together a brand new talk on how agencies could use data-driven marketing as a way to showcase their value and real results they obtain. In it, you’ll learn the 5 steps agencies must take to be more valuable to its clients. For folks on the client side, these are the things you should expect of your agencies, things you should ask for when agencies are pitching you. Agencies not doing these things will not serve you as well as they could. There’s obviously a lot more detail, so go ahead and watch the talk now.

Watch the talk now by filling out this form »

How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • Content Marketing World, September 2021, Cleveland, OH
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2021, virtual
  • HELLO Conference, October 2021, New Jersey

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn


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