You may not realize it yet, but blockchain technology will reimagine and rebuild the digital world. It will do so in many ways because it can create and automate secure transparency in business activities, because it can create an automated inviolable trust and because it can create microeconomic environments within a business or between businesses. If you find that confusing, don’t worry we’ll explain.

The question we consider here is: how will blockchain technology affect consumer marketing?

The Ownership of Data

If we claimed that the blockchain enabled data ownership, we’d be bending the truth. What determines data ownership is legislation. In recent years the EU has legislated to protect personal digital data ownership with what it calls General Data Protection Legislation (GDPR). If you need details read these articles: Is Goddam Privacy Regulations What GDPR Really Stands For?, Got A Data Protection Officer? Didn’t think so. Maybe you need one. and What Are Those Data Rights I Keep Hearing About? ). EU citizens own their digital data and regulations control its use. These regulations are far-reaching because they apply to all companies in the world who store the data of EU citizens.

It is likely that all democratic nations will soon adopt such rights. If a country asks its citizens to vote on whether they own their digital data, they are almost all going to vote “yes.” What started in the EU will likely spread worldwide, but even if it doesn’t any company doing business in the EU will have to conform.

The contribution of the blockchain is that it makes personal digital data ownership a practical proposition.

Data Violation and Permission Based Advertising

Digital advertising is a large element of marketing for most companies, and right now the vast majority of digital advertising is interrupt based. It assaults you as you search the web or browse from web site to web site, or visit your Facebook page. A multitude of intermediaries dominated by Google and Facebook, have harvested masses of personal data and profitably exploit it. That’s how the world is right now, and the blockchain will turn it upside down., formerly Algebraix, is one of the new blockchain companies which has dived into the advertising market and if the company has its way it will provide consumers with the ability first to securely store and protect their data, and secondly to interact with advertisers on a permission basis. They will watch the ads they want to, and they will be paid directly for doing so. There are other blockchain companies such as BAT, which also intend to reward consumers for their attention.

So it looks like the game may be up for those companies that believe they can exploit the consumer’s personal data at will, because fairly soon consumers are going to be able to take back ownership of their data and get paid for its use.

What Difference Is This Going To Make?

If a new way of interacting with consumers emerges where consumers are as knowledgeable about their data, and its value as advertisers and their agents are, there is an opportunity to rethink the relationship between marketers and consumers. Marketers want and, with the consumer’s permission, may be able to get far more accurate targeting data. Digital advertising is expensive mainly because of the cost of not hitting the target,. That may be due to robot software that malevolently clicks on ads (estimates suggest that 40% of digital traffic is actually bots) or to poorly targeting ads or to presenting ads to genuine targets at the wrong time.

When the consumer collaborates in the advertising process and voluntarily clicks on ads targeting is far more accurate than it could ever be otherwise.

When you have potential customers of this kind the engagement process will change, partly because both parties to the relationship have better knowledge of each other and partly because the advertiser/marketer knows that he is already productively engaged with the customer by paying for their attention. In such an environment, aggressive sales approaches are unlikely to be effective.

In practice, it is likely that engagements with potential customers will begin with an ad-provoked dialogue that stands a good chance of being both efficient and productive. In such circumstances, the path between advertisement and sale (or decision not to buy) is known and both parties will have full knowledge of its progress.

When you think about this scenario, it is very likely that it will have an impact not just on digital ads themselves, but on how to position and describe products or services and how to conduct the whole sales process.