Nuts & Bolts - Eye on Privacy: Privacy Is Just Table Stakes
As we head into the annual DMA conference, I am drawn to think back on some of the columns the good people at Target Marketing magazine have allowed me to write during the last 12 months. And, as I do, I think these columns have really dealt with the "nuts and bolts" of privacy: notice, choice, security, etc.
But more and more, I am convinced that, from the consumer's perspective, this is just the beginning.
Yes, that's right, the nuts and bolts of privacy are not, by themselves, enough. They are a necessary precondition to today's multichannel marketing. And, a good privacy professional makes certain these fundamental building blocks are built right.
But, these nuts and bolts of privacy are just table stakes-the ante, if you will, because many of us will be in Las Vegas for the DMA08 Conference & Exhibition-if your organization wants to create a relevant dialogue with today's consumers. The reality is that one of the true "nuts and bolts" of privacy is the value proposition for consumers.
In true business lingo, that means privacy has to work in conjunction with product and marketing folks, sales departments, business owners, CFOs, CTOs, CEOs, boards of directors, and database analysts. You get the idea.
Privacy needs to go beyond the technical implementations of legal and compliance tools. Privacy needs to be engaged with your organization as you seek to increase consumer engagement.
We're moving forward into an era where finding relevance and the right audience is more practical and feasible than it has ever been before because of new data sources and new ways to model those sources. Think of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) and behavioral advertising, among others.
But, as we stand on this precipice to a new world for targeted marketing, we are encountered by many challenges. Chief among these challenges is the need to clearly define the value proposition that consumers derive from our data-driven marketing programs.
So, a consumer might say: Yes, Ms. Marketer, protect my data; say what you do, and do what you say; but also, what am I-your prospective customer-getting in return?
I have sat through countless hours of consumer focus groups on issues related to targeted marketing. A couple key takeaways have always stuck with me. I think of them as evergreen, often-unspoken-but-always-required consumer demands:
- Can targeted marketing help me save money or time or both?
- Can targeted marketing make me feel that I've done something good (or better than my neighbors/friends) for myself or my family?
These are the actual mental calculations that all of us as consumers make, and they are instructive to privacy and marketing professionals.
For a mom of three kids younger than 5, not having to hire a baby sitter, drive to the mall and potentially find a limited selection of Halloween costumes means the catalog that arrived at her doorstep was a great convenience. It helped her avoid the costs of a baby sitter, gas (not exactly a trivial consideration, especially these days) and the two hours that it would have taken to go and scavenge through racks of children's Halloween costumes.
For the father of two who was served an online ad for a desktop computer comparable to the new one his neighbors bought-but for $150 less-the targeted marketing value proposition is incredibly evident.
So, as we look into the future and see the opportunities for new data sources and advanced ways to leverage data to maximize revenue or ad inventory, let's not forget that while privacy is an enabling platform to use this data, it is not an end in and of itself.
It is the beginning of a process that includes consumers in conversations about data use and product design. It involves consumers' demand for security in database architecture. It engages consumers' need to see relevance and value in all that we produce.
If we fail to show the value proposition to consumers and only show them the table stakes, then the challenges will overwhelm our opportunities.
Lou Mastria, CIPP, is chief privacy officer and vice president of public affairs at NextAction Corp., a Westminster, Colo.-based provider of cooperative data solutions for multichannel retailers. He can be reached at (908) 363-0983, or by e-mail at email@example.com.