Monday, 11 February 2008

The Privacy Problem

The issue of privacy continues to be a major debate within digital marketing. In fact, as technology advances and more high profile mistakes are made, the argument is becoming increasingly polarised.

In the same day that I read about increasing concerns on the capture of public imformation, I also read an article about
the study of neurological patterns in order to gather more information about how people subconsciously react to different media.

One of the main questions is how much do advertisers actually want to know about their customers? Most advertisers will say that they will want to gather as much information as possible in order to make the best possible decisions on segmentation, targeting and to maximise marketing campaigns.

In reality, only a small amount of this information is used by most advertisers. The segmentation system used by our CRM department is provided by one of the biggest CRM providers in the industry, yet it allows segmentation on only a limited amount of customer criteria.

Companies may profess to wanting all this information from customers for future use but as all digital marketers know, consumer behaviour changes as rapidly as the technology that stimulates it, diminishing the quality of historical data.

The tangible benefits of providing information needs to be explicit in order for the prospect to provide consent for their personal information to be captured.

Tesco are one of the great CRM success stories. Information captured from customers translates into targeted savings in the form of discount coupons and more recently, benefits from relevant partners.

The ability to show more targeted adverts is not an adequate incentive for customers to provide personal information. Display advertising is still regarded as an interruption to lean forward interaction with the internet. It seems logical to advertisers, but on the whole, consumers have a reluctance to encourage advertising.

The irritance to users comes when advertisers gather a lot of information but don't appear to do anything with it. Consumers become suspicious of the advertisers intentions and wary of providing any more information.

In my opinion, organisations should have clear CRM objectives that require specific customer information in order to be fulfilled.

Providing these objectives are successful in delivering value to consumers, they will be more willing to provide personal information. Consequently, advertisers will reap the benefits of increased customer loyalty.

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