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Privacy or Personalization?

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This week, B Direct attended MTech, the New England Direct Marketing Association's annual Marketing Technology Summit.

As always, the event was very well-attended (practically standing room only). There were informative and inspiring keynotes and general sessions, a number of exhibiting sponsors, a networking lunch. Then, early afternoon, attendees broke into two groups for presentations on channel marketing or video.

The video session was led by two very polished (and very young) Google executives. At least 100 of us learned about new ways to use online YouTube video to drive and track consumer behavior. It was fascinating and the marketing opportunities were exciting.

And, no wonder.

Video is quickly taking over the Internet. In fact, as we learned, by 2020, video will be 82% of consumer web traffic, and by 2021,digital video ad spend will rise to $22.2 billion. So marketers really do need to understand how to use it — and use it well.

The audience was rapt until about three quarters of the way through the presentation. At that point, after learning how brick-and-mortar results can be tracked based on video viewing and subsequent store traffic — provided that the consumer's mobile phone has location services turned on — someone brought up the dreaded P-word.

Privacy.

Questions came quickly. "So, we're being tracked all the time?" "Advertisers know where we are?" "You're keeping a record of stores we go into?"

Remember, these weren't laypeople. Everyone in the room was a marketer of some sort or another. And, even so, the mood had changed pretty dramatically. (To be fair, the folks from Google were quick to assert that the company has strict privacy guidelines and puts consumer privacy ahead of every decision they make.)

So, this begs some marketing questions.

Where does personalization end and privacy begin? How do the two intersect? And, knowing that using personalization (especially highly targeted and creative personalization) improves response rates, how do we balance the two?

Some interesting research points to the validity of this conundrum. According to Jebbit, a Boston-based company that has built the first "declared data platform," ...

67% of consumers want a personalized experience
BUT
92% of consumers are worried about their online data privacy

67% of consumers want a personalized experience
BUT
64% of consumers Have been "creeped out" by personalization

58% of consumers admit they have broken. ties with a brand over bad personalization
YET
Only 34% of data purchased and sold through credible vendors is accurate

Perhaps most importantly, a full 96% of consumers want brands to be more transparent about the collection and use of their personal data.

The trick is to protect the data you collect, and use it only in ways that are valuable to the consumer. Explain how you plan to use the data — and promise to protect it.

Then keep your promise.

We all talk about engagement these days. One of the most important ways you can engage with a customer is to earn their trust.

 

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