Mary Keane-Dawson believes that something is fundamentally broken in the way we advertise.
"We live in a world where one or two massive media companies have the identity of the consumer and have the means for the advertiser to have a conversation with them.
" Customers are becoming disillusioned by the effectiveness of their advertising; consumers are annoyed by the way they are sold to their cell phones. Young people are disaffected with many brands that are popping up in their news feeds.
"The model itself is broken by a commercial perspective, and fundamentally, the consumer is the one who suffers."
There has been a growing awareness in the marketing and advertising industry that models we rely on may no longer be fit for purpose – an awareness that recent regulatory changes such as the GDPR have helped to highlight. But few people are sure what their place should take.
Keane-Dawson, co-founder and CEO of Truth, the world's first blockchain-enabled global communications agency, has an idea: a model that she believes would put the consumer back on track and creates a system that benefits advertisers, publishers and consumers alike.
It's called Truth Data Cloud and is a block-block "data market" that would allow consumers to license their data directly to publishers and advertisers, in exchange for free goods, discounts and monetary rewards.
I spoke with Keane-Dawson about how the idea of Truth Data Cloud was conceived, how it could be beneficial for consumers, publishers and brands and how it believes this democratic model of data sharing can save the our industry destroyed.
What is the Truth Data Cloud?
"Truth Data Cloud is a blockchain-enabled data marketplace that allows consumers to upload their personal information and share it under license with advertisers, publishers and other third parties, and is rewarded with tokens."
as Mary Keane-Dawson distills the essence of the Truth Data Database into an introductory video recently published by the company. He goes on to explain that consumers will be able to keep their data in a secure and encrypted "wallet" and exchange that data with third parties using the market.
In return for their data, consumers will receive truth tokens, which represent the frequency with which their data were used, as well as their quality and quantity. Tokens can be exchanged for goods and discounts with brand partners, or currency.
Keane-Dawson explains why blockchain works so well for a concept like Truth Data Cloud.
"Blockchain is a collaborative and decentralized technology, even if you are using a private blockchain, it still has this verification and consensus mechanism – within it, it has integrated democracy."
Econsultancy & # 39; s Guide to Blockchain for Marketers
Truth Data Cloud is not Keane-Dawson's first blockchain project in the advertising industry. He co-founded the truth as an agency that would use the blockchain to ensure complete transparency and accountability for both clients and agencies in the notoriously obscure world of media purchases.
In March of this year, the truth performed the first blockchain-enabled advertising campaign on The Guardian . In the same week, the revelations of the Cambridge Analytica scandal caused waves of impact all over the world, bringing international conversations about user privacy and data management to the forefront.
Not long after, Keane-Dawson attended a conference on data privacy and trust in the information ecosystems in San Francisco, hosted by the World Economic Forum. In the wake of such a huge consumer data scandal, she was surprised to find a lack of speakers who could talk about uses of personal data.
"There were publishers there, and there were many technology people there, but there were no customers and no agencies – no one who was trained to use personally identifiable or even anonymous data. "
However, one of the speakers of the event was Doc Searls, author of a book entitled The Intenzional Economy: When clients take charge .
"He hypothesized that in the future the consumer could regain control over his purchases and their ability to negotiate directly with advertisers and brands that they wanted to sell to them.
" It was the combination of these events that gave me the # 39; inspiration for the Truth Data Cloud. Now we have the opportunity, with the convergence of blockchain and AI, to own our identities and build an ecosystem that will allow us, as individuals, to license our data, as part of an aggregate group, to advertisers and companies that want to use
Bringing the consumer back under control
"Rather than fighting it, the industry must embrace it," he says. "The regulation, my friend, is here – and it will not go away."
So, how does a data marketplace like Truth Data Cloud conform to the GDPR? If consumers exchange their data with companies, can they revoke the authorization to use their data after the fact?
"The data is all anonymous, so it does not have any IP address, phone number or other personally identifiable information" Explains Keane-Dawson. "And it is licensed to companies, not sold – so yes, that license can be revoked.
" How the blockchain works is that – very simplistically speaking – my data is in my portfolio, and I am the only person who has a "Key" for that wallet, which means that only I can access it.
"If I give permission to those data to be licensed to another company – for example, if British Airways wants to draw on and reward me with discounted flights – this is in accordance with GDPR. If I choose to be forgotten, which is a right I have, then I can use my "key" to kill my data portfolio, and I can do it at any time. "
Keane-Dawson states that consumers get the" majority of benefits "from the model of Truth Data Cloud, because "they get the most revenue from licensing their data" – but there is also a big incentive for brands to take part: data on intentions.
"The value of permission, data on intentions, is gold, which is what Google is fundamentally based on: when you're looking for something, there's a clear intention: you want to buy something or you want to move. that sells Google: that's how AdWords works.
"All we're doing is taking it and turning it around. Essentially, it is the last qualified lead. "
The end of" free "services on the web
Many of our readers will have no doubt heard the saying, " If you do not pay for the product, you are the product. " It can in fact date back to the days before the World Wide Web, but it is more frequently used to indicate the dangers arising from the assumption that there are no costs for the use of" free "sites and services on the internet, when in reality the cost is your time, attention and – most of the time – your data.
Much of the Internet – especially social networks – is built around these types of "free" services, but in a world in which consumers can earn revenue from their data, could these services evaporate or be paid? Keane-Dawson does not think so.
"I think publishers and social networks have to bring the consumer into the business and what we are building is the means by which they can do it. If you are a content provider – or a social network, or whatever it is – and you want to be respectful of your consumers, and you want to have a better relationship with them, reward them as part of this exchange.  "Personally, I think publishers will get the most out of it because their ad model does not work, they are not data companies: their business is to try and create a relationship with their consumers."
Why young consumers will be at the forefront
How much appetite does Keane-Dawson see among consumers for this type of ecosystem? Will they be willing to make the behavior necessary to allow them to license their data to third parties?
First of all, underlines Keane-Dawson, the model of rewarding consumers with discounts and free products is well established; Truth Data Cloud offers the same thing, but "on steroids". And who would not want to earn some prizes – essentially – do nothing?
Even more important, however, is that today's consumers – especially the young – want to be selective about the brands to which they give their data, and are increasingly concerned about the ethical and moral impact of their purchases. These are the consumers Truth Data Cloud inspires and that Keane-Dawson predicts will lead the way in controlling their data.
"We are building the option for people to give some of the money they license their data to charity," says Keane-Dawson. "This is a very important part of how we are designing the product – it reflects the things that are important to young people.
" Which does not mean that older people can not participate! But young consumers, technology experts, are those who have the future in their hands. They are the people for whom we are planning this. Millennials want to buy from brands they believe in; they are the first to adopt changes in this world.
"I think every CMO should go and talk to young people in schools and universities, because they would learn so much, they are fascinating to talk to, because they are so far ahead in their way of thinking."
"For young people, [Truth Data Cloud’s model] is just a breeze – they understood. Why do not they want to participate? "
How to save the advertising industry
When I ask Mary Keane-Dawson how she sees the Truth Data Cloud potentially revolutionize marketing, the answer is immediate.
" I "I would like to save the ;industry."
The model that created and supported the advertising industry as we know it, believes Keane-Dawson, is no longer sustainable. "We can not go back in. Customers no longer want to pay for corner offices, private jets and limousines for advertising agencies, young people do not expect all this – they are looking for authenticity."
"We spent twenty years trying to do [digital] work and ruining it along the way, making mistakes – no one gave us a manual at the beginning, which says" Here's how digital works; that's how you make money from the digital. "Nobody knew it! Nobody understood it:" Build it and it will come "is something I've heard a lot.
" But now we're here – we're at the top of a mountain, and we can look back and see where we have made all these mistakes. Surely, as an industry, we should seize the opportunity to move forward. Because the consumer and the customer are the most important people in this equation, and somewhere along the line, the adtech and the people of the agency have lost sight of this. "
The way Keane-Dawson believes we can save the advertising industry is by putting the consumer" at the center of the conversation. "This can be achieved partly by putting control over one's own data, but also by making these are the central point of advertising and marketing campaigns – making the consumer the priority.
Keane-Dawson wants Truth to be in the forefront by doing this, but also hopes that it will be a part of a much bigger change in the whole industry.
"In light of the fundamental change we are seeing in society, we must all realize that the consumer must be taken straight to the heart of what we are doing," he says. "We are looking at a world where we are putting humanity at the forefront of how we sell and market products to consumers.
"Forward-thinking organizations are already going directly to their consumers, and it is not a huge leap of imagination to understand that if you want to do it on a large scale, we have automation, we have artificial intelligence, blockchain now exists as the basic protocol for the creation of these database-enabled technologies.
"If you want to have efficiency, if you want to be effective, then you will have to start to have a more direct-a relationship with the consumer. And that's what we are building. "
Despite his occasional assessments of the current state of advertising and marketing, Keane-Dawson believes that we have never had a better opportunity to achieve positive change in the industry. " At the moment, we are in a perfect storm : The model of large media networks is clearly under scrutiny, and so many customers are bringing things internally. If we want to reinvent the way we engage with consumers, the moment is now.
"I am really heartened by all the incredibly creative people who use artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain to build new ways to get involved." It's an incredibly positive moment: the companies that support it and invest in it are at the cutting edge.There is a lot of positivity in a world that often feels very negative. "
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