There are 2 certainties with respect to the future of personalized marketing:

  1. The ability to deliver personalized marketing will continue its evolution toward becoming a commodity capability (easy to execute, affordable for the “masses”).

    It’s easier than ever to gather data and leverage that data to personalize marketing across channels. The tech will continue to get better and easier. Capabilities that require a small army today will become increasingly self-serviceable down the road. This is very much in process and progress is likely to be fairly relentless.
  2. Data privacy regulations will increase the overhead and risks for companies looking to leverage data to drive personalization.

The European Union enacted the GDPR a while back and we’re seeing increased numbers of enforcement actions (fines, etc.).

California’s version is called the “CCPA” and is supposed to take effect in January 2020 (though the State of California appears to have its work cut out for them as they’ve not yet finalized much of anything).

Either way, it’s likely that many more state legislatures in the United States will adopt similar rules in the coming years.

So which side will win out? Personalization requires personal data to function (obviously). Techies have proved quite resourceful in finding ways to gather and leverage this data.

Meanwhile, privacy gets a lot of press and many politicians are keen to take action (or to be seen taking action as the case may be).

My personal take is that when my data is used to target me with ads for stuff I might want to buy, I’m ok with that. I don’t perceive any harm there.

What does concern me is the potential for the government to use personal data to target “enemies” (whose ideas do not align with theirs).

It appears that China is using “personal data” to do exactly that on a massive scale. Unfortunately, I’m not able to agree when I hear the argument that such a thing could never happen here (the United States). Human nature makes it possible.

So will regulation put a dent in marketing’s ability to leverage the ever-increasing personalization capabilities afforded by technology? Not yet it seems, but this battle is just beginning.

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Michael Ward

I'm founder & CEO @NetResults, the 1st choice of people buying marketing automation for the 2nd time.