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In a keynote at Deals 3D in San Francisco today, Gary Kearns, MasterCard InfoServices group executive, said that “I am probably what I buy, not what I search for,” and noted that “purchase data is the new demographic” information that media companies have traditionally sold.

Kearns noted that MasterCard processed 12 times the number of transactions that Amazon did last year, and needs to be considered a central player in any “deals” marketing effort. “Will you be eclipsed by a next generation that can figure out ROI and can explain to merchants and higher value to consumers?” he asked, rhetorically. “Big data and big insights can turn the light on and reduce problems with segmentation and targeting,” he said.

The reliance on data will only increase as society becomes more oriented toward smartphones over plastic credit cards. “Smartphones are the new plastic,” said Kearns. “Data is so critical.”

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