These days, almost every forward-thinking marketing initiative is based on an assumption that the targeting data is solid, proven and readily available. It’s certainly available (in abundance). However, it isn’t always solid, and it’s almost never proven.

The science behind targeting data is unlike any other. It’s unregulated, opaque and routinely inaccurate. In his recent article on, Alistair Goodman, GM of Ericsson Emodo, reveals the reasons behind the veiled nature of data science and provides guidance for protecting your data-centric marketing investments…

The marketing data industry has quickly grown into a $20 billion market composed of hundreds of companies, most of which gather, shape and sell consumer targeting data to brands and their agencies. However, very few of those data vendors take steps to ensure or disclose any level of quality. There’s no methodological disclosure, no quality standard and no way to know whether, or to what degree, the flawed data is negatively affecting campaign results.

Data science is veiled science, and it’s likely to stay that way. It’s veiled for a number of reasons — and none of them are good for data buyers, marketers or the marketing industry as a whole:

1. No Accountability

Marketers are eager to reach consumers with advanced data-driven strategies. In the current environment of change, exuberance and experimentation, the appeal of new capabilities tends to outweigh the demand for accountability — execute now; ask questions later.

2. Methodological Weakness

The current lack of accountability perpetuates a window of safety for vendors, some of which have real weaknesses in terms of their data-processing methodologies…

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