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Neil Joyce: The Dark Side of Big Tech: Brands and Consumers all Lose Out

Neil Joyce, Founder and CEO at business transformation consultancy CLV Group

Balancing consumer privacy with commercial interests has become an increasingly thorny issue for businesses to navigate, but one that they absolutely must address if they are going to protect their relationships with customers. Consumers have become more and more concerned about their online activity being tracked by advertisers, as well as who has their data and how it is being used. After all, ultimately we as individuals and consumers own our data, nobody else – and when we share our data with companies we are trusting them to offer a value exchange and properly protect our data. We are currently in a no-win situation for either business or consumers, as the poor targeting and re-targeting online experiences merely lead to frustration and confusion about why this keeps happening.

It’s not necessarily about advertisers doing things wrong, but that groupthink and incentivisation models for an advertising and technology ecosystem are predicated on metrics that are directly at odds with being relevant, respectful and in the best interests of the customer and the advertiser.

Instead of allowing Big Tech firms to write the narrative of their consumers, companies need to take back control through their first-party data, enabling them to truly customise and curate what their consumers see and want to see – and choose where, when and how to reach them instead of being told by Google or Facebook and charged for the privilege. They have been trusted by customers with their data, so they need to show they’re listening and understanding. Leveraging this insight makes it possible to create a meaningful dialogue with them rather than simply targeting them.

In taking steps to really make a change here, companies can create a relationship with the consumer that feels more personalised and private. Building trust through relevancy and explicitly-given permission – and removing the vulnerability consumers can feel wondering how a company got their information in the first place – can significantly improve and extend the ‘lifetime value’ of customer relationships.

Businesses should not see the latest moves by Google and Apple as something to approach with fear or trepidation, but instead see it as a golden opportunity to reimagine and rethink how they are communicating and engaging with their customers – and take back control from Big Tech. Now is the time shake up the ecosystem for the greater good and build a radically new approach to a privacy-first future, giving control back to brands and ultimately putting the needs of the consumer back at the centre of marketing efforts.


About Neil Joyce, CEO and Founder, CLV Group
Neil has spent the last 20 years revolutionising the marketing and advertising agendas for the world’s largest media, entertainment and technology brands, helping them to leverage data as the catalyst for competitive advantage. Holding senior executive leadership positions at Acxiom and IBM across the US, UK and APAC, he was most recently the Global Chief Revenue Officer of Signal Digital. During his time there, he was responsible for creating, developing, and maintaining the business transformation from a data collection and analytics company to a top two enterprise customer Identity business, globally. As CEO of The CLV Group, Neil’s passion and primary role is to help brands to create, quantify and implement new ideas for generating more equitable relationships between businesses with shareholders, customers and employees.