Power of Data 2023
highlights and key take aways
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Digital marketing in a post-search world

Seth Godin

Seth Godin was one of the pioneers of digital marketing. So, when he says marketing is about to change, people listen. Seth started by laying the foundation that marketing and advertising used to be the same – back when companies made average products for average people and then mass marketed them. Then, in the late 1990s, cookies started to provide scraps of data that gave marketers hints as to what consumers were actually interested in. Since then, however, a gulf has started to form between data and information. Marketers are increasingly guided by data without really understanding the humans behind it. More data, he argued, will only make this worse. And with the deluge of AI-generated data we are about to encounter, more data will not help marketers unless they can turn it into more information.

The key Seth said was to develop practical empathy. To take the threads of data we have, as well as an understanding of the building blocks of human beings, and use them to understand what our customers really want. This will be the key to keeping our humanity in the age of AI – and to do work that matters for people who care.
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From greenwashing to sustainable change

Aurore Belfrage

Aurore Belfrage hit the stage with sustainability and accountability clearly in her sights. She started out by reaffirming the scale of the challenge we face – and that only we can solve it. She then looked at how climate is affecting geopolitics and the arms race between superpowers who want to “win” the next chapter of humanity. She looked at how climate issues could begin to alter the role of the military as they shoulder an increasing civil defence burden as a result of natural disasters.

She then turned her attention to some of the new possibilities presented by the intersection of the green transition and the digital transition. She cautioned that technology itself is neutral, it’s what we do with it that will make a difference. She looked at new examples of using data and AI to: predict energy needs in buildings and industry, accelerate the development of more efficient materials, and optimise the efficiency of fuel and resource utilization. These are some of the ways we can use the power of data to make smarter decisions.

Looking ahead, Aurore said there should be no tolerance for greenwashing or deception; but there must be huge tolerance for trying, testing, and moving in the right direction. Aurora presented a simplified model for measuring the price on carbon and outlined how an accurate understanding of this was an important business tool for understanding true costs, margins, and profits ahead of the regulations that may follow.
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From compliance to accountability

Oliver Bullough

Oliver Bullough took the audience back to when the world’s fight against money laundering began. The TV show Miami Vice, with its pastel t-shirts and unshaven chins, was actually as much documentary as drama according to the detectives he had interviewed. He looked at how drug-funded money laundering in Florida in the 1970s and 80s started an arms race between criminals and authorities. One in which criminals have always managed to stay one step ahead.

Criminals have an advantage – because they’re criminals. They can share or hide as much information as they like. They are borderless in a way that police officers are not. Each time law enforcement and compliance authorities close one loophole, criminals adjust and find another one.

The answer, says Oliver, is data. Huge, connected databases that let us look across borders and see ultimate beneficial ownership (UBO) structures and what is hidden behind shell companies and chains of shell companies. However, what we’re currently seeing is the opposite, with EU rulings making it harder for businesses to access UBO databases in other countries.

He finished by stressing that the key to enforcement gaining an upper hand over criminals is for compliance officers not to think like compliance officers. They need to recognize the uniquely powerful role they play and think like someone who is on the front line of protecting the victims of financial crime.
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