Consumers are also gaining more and more power with the UK government for example recently announcing that they plan to give consumers more control over their data by releasing it back to them. In describing this they say:-
“[It] will give consumers increasing access to their personal data in a portable, electronic format. [..] Individuals will then be able to use this data to gain insights into their own behaviour, make more informed choices about products and services, and manage their lives more efficiently.”
Outside of government, some of the biggest collectors of personal data are loyalty programmes and so I’d fully expect them to begin taking part in these kinds of initiatives, allowing members to use their data to better understand their buying habits, but also to unlock more relevant offers and promotions on their terms. Indeed, many of the companies signing up to the UK midata initiative are companies with their own loyalty programmes. Generically termed VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) or PIDM (Personal Identity Management), I think 2012 will be the year when we start to see this trend gaining ground.
VRM, we should make clear, is not about company loyalty programs (though it can certainly help those), but about individuals becoming both independent from vendors and better able to engage with vendors in the customers’ own ways, using their own tools.
Data will be a big part of that. But the main purpose of managing one’s own data is not just to understand one’s own buying habits or to unlock offers. It is to manage one’s own life and one’s own relationships with other entities, including companies and governments.
For more about VRM, see the lists of principles, goals and tools here. If you think your favorite tool for individual independence and engagement should be listed, let us know. This is the very last day you’ve got a chance to get it listed in the book I’m coming out with in May.