Millions of Americans struggle to overcome the conundrum that to get credit you need to already have credit. But a number of startups are using a wider range of financial data, alternative datasets and different algorithms to better identify who’s a good credit risk.

For marketing scientists that means potentially a bigger pool of customers for our clients. Understanding credit risk data differently can also help us better serve our customers. Expanding our view of the right customer, finding the right channel to reach that new customer with the right message can only make us more effective and valuable to our clients.

Well, maybe not so fast. Marketing scientists are always challenged to find new ways to look at data — varying datasets and different algorithms to better identify potential customers. Does credit rating have any application to identify and/or expand customer targets? Should it?

Credit rating data can and is used today by marketers. But it’s getting problematic. For example, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the data firm harvested the personal information of some 87 million users without their permission, Facebook said it will stop using data from third-party data aggregators — companies like Experian and Acxiom — to help supplement its own data set for ad targeting. Facebook previously let advertisers target people using data from a number of sources. Now no more.

At the very least, Facebook’s actions are likely to cause additional concern among marketers about the ethics of using this type of data. In the next year to 18 months, expect marketers to move away from using data compiled by third-parties and rightly so. We need consumers to not feel compromised in any way, shape or form when they’re on the receiving end of a client’s messaging campaign.

One of our greatest challenges going forward is figuring out how to deliver marketing services without compromising customers’ privacy.

By Curtis Thornhill


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