Nowadays, most of our activities and personal details are recorded by one entity or another. These data are used for many applications that fundamentally enrich our lives, such as navigation systems, social networks, search engines, and health monitoring. On the darker side of data collection lie usages that can harm us and threaten our sense of privacy. Marketing, as an academic field and corporate practice, has benefited tremendously from this era of data abundance, but has concurrently heightened the risk of associated harms.

In this paper, we discuss both the great advantages and potential harms ushered in by this era of data collection, as well as ways to mitigate the harms while maintaining the benefits. Specifically, we propose and discuss classes of potential solutions: methods for collecting less data overall, transparency of code and models, federated learning, identity management tools, among others. Some of these solutions can be implemented now, others require a longer horizon, but all can begin through the advocacy of Marketing Research. We also discuss possible ways to improve on the benefits of data collection – by developing methods to assist individuals pursue their long-term goals while advocating for privacy in such pursuits.

Turjeman, Dana and Feinberg, Fred M., Our Data-Driven Future: Promise, Perils, and Prognoses (March 19, 2019). Turjeman, Dana and Fred M. Feinberg (forthcoming) “Our Data-Driven World: Promise, Perils and Prognoses”. Review of Marketing Research: Continuing to Broaden the Marketing Concept, Vol. 17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3440726

Fred Feinberg

University of Michigan

Fred Feinberg is Handleman Professor and Department Chair of Marketing, and Professor of Statistics, University of Michigan. He holds SB degrees in Mathematics & Philosophy, and PhD in Management, all from MIT. His research uses statistical models to explain complex decisions, particularly involving the interface between marketing and engineering design; multi-agent choices (e.g., in online dating), and consumer privacy. He is co-author of “Modern Marketing Research: Concepts, Methods, and Cases,” and President of the INFORMS Society for Marketing Science.

Dana Turjeman

University of Michigan

Dana Turjeman is a PhD Candidate in Quantitative Marketing at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. Prior to the doctoral program, Dana earned a BSc in Computer Science and an MBA (with honors) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In her research, she focuses on the intersection between privacy and customer behavior. She uses and develops quantitative methods, in the domains of causal inference, machine learning and statistical modeling, in order to answer substantive questions in these topics.


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