There’s no doubt that big data has become more than a buzzword and harbors tremendous potential to transform marketing and communications. Whether you are using data to email your customers or understand their needs and preferences at a minute level, the effect is the same: it is critical to keep in mind the reputational risks associated with its use. It is now clear why Google set “don’t be evil” as its guiding principle; they understood the power of data and how easily it could be used for purposes that may cross that ethical line.
Today, it’s not only brands that are pursuing big data capabilities to flex their marketing muscle; agencies are also getting into the business of big data. Witness the recently proposed $35.1 billion mega-merger of Omnicom and Publicis. The New York Times cites a statement from Publicis chief executive Maurice Lévy acknowledging “technological advancements and the rise of big data were primary reasons for the merger.
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