Estelle Nagel, Marketing Manager at Gumtree South Africa, says in the Golden Age of information, we know more about consumers, their transactions, preferences, spending habits, income and demographics than ever before, freely surrendered by the consumers themselves as they shop, bank and socialise online. However, if current trends are an indication of what’s to come, the gilded age is slowly losing its sheen.

Data is cheap and obtainable for now, but as marketers, we have to wonder what we’ll do if we no longer have access or the avenues and ability to gather the data that we currently have at our disposal.

Democratic party favourite Elizabeth Warren has built her campaign attacking the way social media giants are exercising their power, suggesting that Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and Whatsapp be reversed in order to diminish power. Weighed against recent mass data leaks, fines, protests and an increasingly educated user base with growing privacy concerns, it seems that society is course-correcting against the widespread dissemination of personal information and the influence that tech companies can wield in the political sphere.

1. Be useful, be interesting, be worth it

The reason people are so willing to sacrifice their privacy through their social media and blogs is because the pay-off outweighs the trade-off. If you are asking for an email address, make it worth their while by providing real benefits and useful content through your communication.

2. Go beyond a brand

Brand communications, particularly social media, is about removing the boundaries between companies and their customers. You only have the most fleeting moments to make an impression on a customer with your brand personality. Be clear on who you want to be to your customers, what you stand for and how you will communicate that. Be someone customers want to speak to, so you can be someone they listen to.

3. Use the data you have

If you don’t already have a digital footprint, now is the time to build one. Create opportunities, WOW moments and personalised communications to learn more about your audience and to extend your reach.

Digital marketing is not about keeping up with trends, but anticipating the many inevitable shifts you will encounter along the way. Make sure that you have strategies in place to make the most of what you currently have at your disposal, while planning for Data Sharing 2.0.