Colson Hillier, vice president, Precision Market Insights, Verizon Wireless
It's no secret that wireless operators have a lot of interesting data on their customers, including customers' usage and preferences. But privacy concerns have always kept operators from profiting from that data.
However, times are changing. In a bold move, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) last fall introduced Precision Market Insights, a new initiative that will provide marketers with access to aggregated data from Verizon Wireless' customers to help marketers understand and engage with their customer base. This new group is headed by Colson Hillier, who not only understands marketing but also knows Verizon's customer base and the importance of protecting customer data.
Hillier, who previously headed up Verizon's multimedia and entertainment business, said the time is right for providing this data to marketers because Verizon has the ability compile data from its millions of customers, aggregate it and make it anonymous. And for customers who may not like the idea that their data is being sold to marketers, Hillier said Verizon will not use anyone's data without their express permission. Fearful of the potential backlash that could occur if this is not communicated properly, Verizon has provided its customers with multiple forms of notification, both electronically and through the mail.
This is a bold new area for Verizon and one that could prove profitable. Hillier envisions being able to take customer data and enrich it to find specific trends that are relevant to different vertical markets. For example, the company can find out certain types of information like location and figure out traffic patterns that would be helpful to marketers.
There's no doubt that other wireless carriers are closely watching Hillier and his team at Precision Market Insights to see the type of traction they get in this new world of marketing customer data.
- Colson Hillier, vice president, Precision Market Insights, Verizon Wireless