At the demand end of the retail supply chain where advertising and marketplace experiences occur, there are a couple of key layers that sit between the brand and the shopper. Marketplaces, like Amazon and Walmart, and the networks that create demand against those marketplaces, like Facebook, Google, Adroll, and other social channels, have developed yet another layer of intermediation between the brands and the shoppers. These “bad actors,” as we like to call them, have perfected their monetization strategies against centralizing shopper data, hindering these brands from authentically connecting with those who desire to purchase their products.
Everyone has an opportunity for fair trade and a fair stake in the value that they bring to the supply chain, but inside of advertising and demand generation, I do think that there are archaic models that are being relegated into nothing more than significant consumer data strongholds. The owners of these strongholds continue to compound and re-leverage all that consumer data in order to abstract a brand as far away as possible from the shopper. Specifically, when social platforms look to move eCommerce experiences and more of the shopping funnel inside of their environments rather than facilitating a fair exchange with the brand around an attributable model driving against authentic shopper interest and demand, they continue to cheapen brands against KPIs or ad metrics that are incredibly inefficient. That’s an area that feels very brittle and I think that decentralization and disruption centered around the economic model of a brand, ie driving sales or net new transaction, presents a massive opportunity.
The data that is abstracted from shoppers across ad networks or social channels is significant. I’m not sure an individual shopper would be able to comprehend the amount of data that is stored “on their behalf” and then used against them as they are trying to move through the natural discovery process for products, services, and food that interest them. That level of manipulation under the guise of convenience is not only sustainable, but will only lead to withering out of culture and individual expression.