Santa’s Addressability Problem

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In spite of the rise of marketing clouds, data science, and martech capable of matching individual consumers to specific data from disparate collections of data, we have an Addressability Problem. Let’s view what this means with a timely use case. Tonight, Santa Claus undertakes his annual ritual of loading his sleigh and delivering presents to those children of the world who anxiously and hopefully await his arrival. But in the age of data sovereignty, individual rights, privacy, and frankly, low match rates among first-party and third-party data housed via safe havens in data management platforms and high tech trading exchanges, Santa has an Addressability Problem.

Santa’s basic job is to build a personalized list matching consumer wants, needs, desires, hopes, aspirations against his inventory of elf-crafted goods and services and then achieve a six sigma or better delivery match. Letters to the North Pole help. Behavioral and contextual targeting also help. But ultimately, Santa’s winning KPI is to deliver exactly the right present to exactly the right child…and at the right time. His record is near flawless, but can he keep this up?

As Santa and the reindeer take to the sky tonight, it will be different than in years past. Like the media and marketing business, Santa faces more complications in providing personalized and targeted experiences. In Europe, and beyond, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policy fogs the addressability game. In the U.S., beginning next week, we’ll face unveiling of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). No longer may Santa and his marketing enablers freely collect and pool first-party and third-party data to specifically target, be still my heart, not just individual households, but actual individuals… and mere children at that!

There is more constrained access to and use of actual individual or even household level targeting due to the cultural revolution in data rights and righteous public policy to enforce individual data privacy, sovereignty, and agency. Santa Claus (and his marketing brethren) must Christmas Eve in a world without cookies targeting him from each child’s home he calls upon.

In a cookie-less world, Santa and his reindeer may well be flummoxed about how to best target (and retarget) the children of the world who patiently await his cherished arrival. It seems that unlike Christmas Past, Santa’s Addressability Problem will force him to forego his traditional ways of finding matches between the elves handiwork and the world’s children on a one-to-one basis. No, in Christmas Future, it will have to be contextual and behavioral targeting.

A word to the wise here. Santa’s only behavioral targeting data is his “Who’s Been Good and Who’s Been Naughty List.”

Here’s hoping your behavioral targeting ID puts you on the right list.

Happy Holidays!

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