Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

How did 2017 work out for you? Well, let’s look forward to 2018 — and imagine what could be. The optimist in me is gung-ho on what’s transpiring in the world economy — and nearer at home.

Right on cue. My last blog post happened to discuss Europe’s forthcoming "Data Freeze." Enter a new U.S. study that articulates just how large the use of data for smarter marketing really is stateside — to the tune of $20 billion plus.

European policymakers are transfixed with setting personal information controls on the private sector, and — beginning May 2018 — will give its citizens “default” power to shut down all such data usage for advertising purposes unless consumers provide affirmative consent. It’s called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its companion ePrivacy Regulation.

About 1 billion people use WhatsApp, a messaging solution owned by Facebook, and its official blog announced big brands will have to start paying to communicate with consumers on the platform. The good news is marketers can do so with upgraded features.

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