Do you like to receive relevant, personalized and targeted marketing communications? 

Those that offer up products or services that fit your current needs, lifestyle or are delivered to you via the method you prefer? 

Well I do! 

And as a marketer, I know a little more than the average bear as to how this happens.  See, it is all leveraged by data.  Data that is collected every time we make a purchase at a store, by where we live, they places we vacation, where we dine and the websites we visit.  However, this luxury of intimate personalized marketing is being threatened. 

Do the words “Bipartisan Congressional Caucus” scare you?  Well they should. 

Because this morning while enjoying my cup of coffee and flipping through the pages of my Boston Globe (yes I am still a fan of home newspaper delivery) I came across the following article “Data Collection Companies Defend Their Role”.  In it, I read about how this summer a group of politicians led by Representative Markey of Massachusetts and Representative Barton from Texas interviewed nine data collection companies in an effort to understand the Data Brokerage industry.  Let me translate this for you… "Understand" equals Regulate.  

As ethical marketers, we should be very concerned about what is going on here as this would make an already very difficult job (marketing) even harder.  I’m all about consumer privacy, but my gut tells me this is something much more and it can drastically impact our industry.

Imagine trying to create a campaign without data on your target market or best customers.  Imagine trying to segment delivery of a communication based on assumptions, rather than created from data. 

Maybe I’m out in left field on this one but I’m Afraid... Very Afraid. 

This is not the 1960’s Mad Men era of marketing anymore where your channels are limited to a select few and your understanding of your consumer is limited.  We live in the information age and data is required to do our jobs. 

The good news is that our industry association DMA is already addressing the political interest in data collection with the incarnation of the Data-Driven Marketing Institute (DDMI) which launched on October 15th.  It is their goal to set the record straight about the countless ways data driven marketing benefits consumers and fuels the data-driven economy.  

You can be sure that I will be watching this unfold and encourage you to do the same.