Bill Hicks

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.
Thorin McGee is editor-in-chief and content director of Target Marketing and oversees editorial direction and product development for the magazine, website and other channels.

"What most of you don't know, or are just beginning to realize, is that a much greater and more immediate threat to your privacy [than NSA data collection] is coming from thousands of companies you never heard of in the name of commerce." That's how "60 Minutes" began a supposedly unbiased report on the practices of marketing "data brokers" that aired on Sunday, March 9. The piece featured an interview with Federal Trade Commissioner Julie Brill, who claimed marketers keep personally identifiable "dossiers" on all individual citizens

It's never been clearer than while researching this article that consumers aren't thinking about you at all—ever. They're looking for themselves in you, if they notice you at all. How do you make them look? How do you make them feel? Which of their problems do you solve? What does spending time and money with you get them? Noticed? Affirmed? Appreciated? If not by their friends, then by you?

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