Oracle's Blue Kai Deal Could Prove a Boon for Data Brokers

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BlueKai CEO Omar Tawakol
BlueKai CEO Omar Tawakol
 

Will the number two software maker's planned acquisition of a company that owns one of the largest collections of third-party customer data work up the froth among privacy advocates and regulators?

The Direct Marketing Association' s privacy maven, VP of Governmental Affairs Rachel Nyswander Thomas, responds that the battle for free market operation of what the DMA calls the “Data-Driven Economy” is already fully enjoined. “There are already so many large, well-known companies involved in the data business that I don't think this makes a huge difference,” she says. “What we need to do is to make it clear that business as usual means responsible use of data.”

Dennis Dayman might amend that to “smart use of data.” The Chief Privacy Officer of Oracle's Eloqua unit, which will work in concert with BlueKai once Oracle's acquisition of the company is complete, believes that the privacy skirmish between marketers and regulators will subside once marketers refine the way they use the data.

“The problem that still exists on the marketing side is that we haven't matured on how to deal with all this data. How much is too much?” Dayman says. “I feel that we still treat [data-driven marketing] like it's direct mail or email. We say, ‘We gotta send as much as we can.' But that's not the reality anymore.”

Quality versus quantity is a concept that has not yet become ingrained among marketers engulfed in all the new possibilities presented to them via cloud-based analysis of Big Data, according to Dayman. “They'll ask for 16 pieces of data from a customer when they only need one or two,” he says. “The tools we're building help determine which are the essential one or two for which individuals.”

Marketers still have time to get their acts together before the heavy hand of the law descends to severely limit their activites, Dayman believes. He observes that most of the recent consumer privacy activity emanating from Washington has been in reaction due to hacking of payment systems, specifically the holiday breach of millions of Target customers.

“That's not a privacy issue, it's a security issue,” he says. “Legislators can create a security rule that says, ‘Do X, Y, and Z' and it can be effective. But a privacy rule is more complicated. Things change every six months or so.”

With new capabilities such as those brought together in the Oracle-BlueKai deal, Dayman hopes that what will also show positive change every six months is the deftness with which marketers use personal customer data.

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