I was intrigued by the recent announcement that MasterCard and Brighter Planet were teaming up to mine carbon emission data based on corporate cardholder data. This announcement got me thinking about unlikely data partnerships across verticals to productize data and form mutually beneficial partnerships using data as the currency. 

But what’s really interesting is that it elevates the conversation of customer intelligence beyond better campaigns and ROI to the use of customer data for sustainability efforts — a relatively uncommon use case for customer intelligence. 

The concept of data sharing or data partnerships is not new — entire business models exist on making these services available to organizations for smarter targeting and remarketing. Retail data co-ops, online media audience aggregators, and data coalitions are just a few examples of these models. And MasterCard even sells its MasterCard Advisors solution to provide merchants with enhanced data and targeting capabilities.

But the MasterCard-Brighter Planet partnership, in the context of calculating corporate environmental impact, highlights how organizations are creatively thinking about using their customer transactional data for non-marketing use. In a similar vein, my colleagues Suresh Vittal and Emily Murphy recently posted their take on the partnership between Starwood and foursquare and the potential impact on customer data. In this case, the partnership is to leverage the data for better marketing.

Several questions arise as we hear more about unlikely data partnerships:

·         Which cross-vertical data partnerships are most likely to benefit customers?

·         How do these types of partnerships ultimately improve the relationship with the customer?

·         At what point do organizations decide to productize their customer data, apply analytics, and use the insight for non-marketing initiatives?

·         What happens when customers learn about how their data is being used?

I’d love to hear your thoughts here, or continue the discussion on our community site