With decentralised infrastructure and application platforms replacing today's centralised tech marketplaces, private marketing platforms will become the virtual marketing offices of the future
By Biswajit Das
Surely, Berners-Lee (inventor of the Internet) did not expect that the internet would one day be controlled by a handful of behemoth corporations like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon – who dominate the web and become owners and profit from the data!
Fortunately, the core constituents that built the Internet – hardware and software technology as well as bandwidth – are not solely in the hands of these behemoths. (There was an attempt by some behemoths to control the bandwidth in cahoots with telcos, which was successfully blocked by Government regulations driven by popular opinion.)
Today, any company with the resources can easily set up web server clusters to handle humongous volumes of data and transactions. Here’s how it happens.
Technology To The Fore
Since information technology has been evolving independent of the behemoths who dominate the Internet business, this has led to the rise of data storage using blockchain technology (a by-product of crypto-currency) along with distributed ledger technology. Not to mention revival and evolution of statistical programming (read: AI/ML) computer programming languages like R and Python. On another note, server farms have become commonplace with the easy availability of high-quality hardware and a lot of open source software. It‘s feasible for large corporations to manage their own large “private” clouds instead of outsourcing.
All the above developments make a clear case for democratisation of business transactions with decentralised data storage, viz. without any central mediator or marketplace.
Since information technology has been evolving independently of the behemoths who All this will ultimately reduce the dependence on marketplaces which are based on centralised ‘fat servers’ – run by behemoths who make their billions by selling private data to potential advertisers.
As far as the business Web is concerned, we can expect more peer-to-peer transactions and communications, transparency, opt-in – that allows individuals and companies to take ownership of their precious data and transact in their own time.
So, with Web 3.0, will there be any significant difference between private platforms (aka walled gardens) and public platforms (marketplaces)? And how will the marketing function be affected in this process?
But first, let’s define what we mean by a Private Platform. Any server cluster which holds the data and manages transactions of an individual enterprise or group (as against an aggregator or marketplace) is a Private Platform – or the new ‘walled garden’.
Earlier, walled gardens referred to aggregators and marketplaces which would restrict their users access for profit motives. For example, Linkedin would not let you mention your email id in any communication to ensure that you communicate only within Linkedin.
Private platforms always existed, But they were inward-focussed and communicated with internal systems like ERP, CRM, etc. They were not open to their users communicating outside Linkedin.
Both private platforms and public platforms can have similar infrastructure. Both can access humongous server power, technology, bandwidth and reach. Private platforms aggregate data for their own use as against marketplaces who sell data as a business model.
Going forward, private servers will communicate smoothly with external public platforms and most importantly, directly with other private platforms.
The Virtual Marketing Office
With decentralised infrastructure and application platforms replacing today’s centralised tech marketplaces, private marketing platforms will become the virtual marketing offices of the future. Controlled by businesses and entities who will own the data, with minimum invasion of privacy and interruptions.
Today, every large marketer faces a serious problem of managing marketing investments – because of the multitude of options, each of which requires a specialist. Marketing activities are spread over multiple markets and managed independently by different offices.
To orchestrate the entire set of marketing investments in today’s volatile and complex market, large marketing departments need to track their plans and their execution constantly. Tracking requires that all marketing data be available in a single place – something that’s easier said than done.
That’s where a private marketing platform plays a role – by bringing together marketing planning, marketing operations, data visibility and analytics together in a single integrated platform which facilitates virtual collaboration.
Initially, private platforms communicate with internal systems to create a single integrated end-to-end user experience, ensuring that all relevant data is available in a single place.
Going forward, with more private platforms entering the ecosystem, private platforms will start talking to other private platforms as well as public platforms, relying more on peer-to-peer distributed transaction ledgers rather than large marketplaces and aggregators.
The author is founder of Brandintelle. Views expressed are personal.