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You can’t judge a book by its cover: reports on AI, GDPR

The notion that book titles and covers aren’t always a true representation of what’s inside came to mind when we posted a new DCG Insight Brief on trust and smart data.

Recorded use of the idiom “you can’t judge a book by its cover” goes back to the mid-19th century, according to the folks at They write: “Based solely on the cover, a person may decide whether a book is or is not for them. As a result, they may overlook a book simply because the cover appears plain or uninteresting to them. However, if the person would have opened up the book and look at what’s inside instead of overlooking it, they may have found it to be pretty interesting after all.”

Smart Data is the Key to Building Trust With Consumers is a case in point. The Brief, authored by Tim Walters, describes smart data and the market drivers that are fueling a shift from big data to smart(er) data.  And though you wouldn’t know it from the title, the report is also about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and unified data layers as tools and technologies for addressing trust issues that come hand-in-hand with data-based marketing. Tim connects the limits of today’s attempts at personalization with the promise of AI:

AI and machine learning applied to data grants marketers insights into what tasks the consumer is pursuing and where they are on the journey (and at an individual, one-to-one level). Smart data can help identify the hotspots or “micromoments” in the journey where consumers are most likely to hesitate or struggle – and therefore are most appreciative of the appropriate, relevant assistance. Smart data shifts marketing from vague, deterministic correlations to goal-oriented causation.

Another DCG Insight Paper also illustrates the point that unexpected insights can lurk within a report, insights that might have been missed if judgments about relevance are made solely on the basis of the report title. Get Ready for the New Personal Data Economy, also authored by Tim Walters, addresses consumer trust issues and the use of personal data through the lens of consumer-friendly efforts such as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Tim’s paper is really about the upside of the GDPR.

It is critical to realize the new data regulations are not just another regulatory burden that has to be met in order to get on with business as usual. Rather, the personal data marketplaces that they encourage (or require) create the opportunity for fundamentally new services, business models, and customer relations. Companies have an incentive to compete not just for a consumer’s wallet but for his or her data – which is potentially even more valuable. For the first time, business dynamics, interests, and incentives will be aligned to truly put the customer at the center of commercial exchanges.

AI for customer experience management and GDPR impact on marketing practices are hot topics today, top-of-mind for executives and practitioners alike. The two don’t-judge-by-the-title reports mentioned in this post shouldn’t be overlooked by readers who are seeking guidance as they craft their organizational responses. Please contact us if you have issues or questions that you’d like to see us address in our research and analysis on AI, GDPR, or other practices and technologies that are driving your company’s digital evolution.


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