How marketeers should engage with customers in the wake of the Facebook data scandal

A lot has been talked about recently regarding the malpractice of Cambridge Analytica’s handling of data and Facebooks subsequent slow response to address the issue. Rather than add to the noise, this article seeks to discuss what potential options marketeers can take in a world of heightened privacy.

As technology evolves and matures, so does consumer sentiment around the value of their data and privacy to businesses. Once it was fun to find out ‘Who is my doppelgänger?’ by answering some seemingly harmless questions and getting a funny response to share with your friends and family. Now it appears that consumers are more suspicious about what lies behind these social quizzes. And rightly so!

In 2016, LinkedIn sold to Microsoft for $26bn. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what value Microsoft saw in LinkedIn…. data. 433 million people had signed up and recorded every job, school and interest they had ever had. It gave Microsoft access to the single biggest database for the enterprise.

Fast forward two years and consumers are catching up. In the new age of openness and transparency, we believe it’s time for brands to start building their own connections with customers and giving them direct rewards for their loyalty and participation. Soon consumers will be looking to monetise their data, connections and even become micro influencers. Why should they allow big corporations to monetise their reach and influence, when there are the tools to compensate them directly?

We feel the next few years will see the rise of ‘Direct to consumer’ marketing. Where brands will use technology to cut out the middleman and instead reward their customers for their attention and loyalty.

One area that is quickly evolving to help brands achieve this is blockchain technology. One startup called SETHER is building the first blockchain social marketing platform. Designed to empower consumers and disrupt the current data landscape, brands will be able to build GDPR compliant databases of customers that have opted in to receive rewards in exchange for their data. Smart contracts will measure participation levels and reward the consumer for taking part in surveys, product tests, questionnaires and even for sharing offers and social assets. This not only allow consumers to control the data they have shared with brands, but also give them an incentive for doing it.

Other companies are also building out alternate marketing tools at a rapid pace. Basic attention token rewards consumers for viewing ads via a bespoke browser, Tron are reshaping the payment model for content creators so they get more than a few cents for every million views.

This is a pivotal moment in marketing. Will the power shift to the consumer? If it does, brands have numerous emerging technologies to align with.

Full disclosure: SHARE are the exclusive services partner for SETHER, if you would like to learn more about how this technology could improve your marketing then please feel free to contact us at: