Personalization v. privacy: Online marketers get too close for comfort

Online privacy

It’s a sticky subject and it’s not going away anytime soon.

Some have called personalization the Holy Grail of marketing. If you can connect with people in a highly relevant and personalized way, you’ll dramatically improve your response rates and marketing ROI. What’s more, most people prefer personalized ads–ads delivered to their name, at the right time, the right place and with the right message–to irrelevant, poorly targeted online ads and SPAM.

Sounds like the perfect marriage, right? Well, as you would expect on this blog, it’s not that easy.

A study conducted in 2007 at UC Berkeley of California adults found that 85 percent of all respondents do not want websites to track their web behavior in order to improve advertising targeting.

The New York Times had comScore conduct a detailed and broad estimate of the amount of consumer data that is transmitted to Internet companies like Yahoo!, Google, MSN and others and shared it in To Aim Ads, Web Is Keeping Closer Eye on You. In short, it’s a mind-numbing amount of data.

As consumers, we want it to be relevant.

But we don’t want marketers to have the tools necessary to make it that way.

A bit of a catch 22, isn’t it?

What do you think?

Join the discussion One Comment

  • I think it really depends on how the data is used. Most shoppers have scanner cards at their local supermarket and maybe elsewhere, and surely they know they’re giving the store the keys to their shopping habits. But when you get a $25 off coupon after each $200 purchase, people don’t object. They probably even wouldn’t object to get a note like, we notice you like to buy this brand of catfood. It’s going to be on sale next week OR they’re introducing a new companion product. (Amazon has built is empire on just this sort of thing).

    What consumers DON’T want is companies trafficking in their information, selling to other companies, aggregating data across different, independently owned shopping channels.

    Shel Horowitz, award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First
    http://www.principledprofit.com

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