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Why Marketers Shouldn’t Get to Know Customers’ ‘Digital Selves’

May 6, 2012

Why Marketers Should Get to Know Customers’ ‘Digital Selves’

So what this guy really thinks is that companies need to try much harder when backdooring into someone’s personal life.  If you work for a company that exists to make money, then you should be doing everything possible to make as much as you can.  Several large companies have already set that precedent, most notably Nike for outsourcing its labor to kids in foreign countries and Apple for legally avoiding income taxes.  That’s the responsibility you have to the other people you work with and to your stockholders, but there has to be a line and it needs to be drawn to protect the consumer.

Yes, people send out information all of the time on the Internet but it’s usually to someone they know or at the very least a real person, not a corporation.  A marketing or communication analyst would tell you that in a very literal sense we are constantly sending signals, but that does not mean that we are seeking or expecting responses to those signals.  Just because someone tweets that they want an iced coffee or would love to go golfing does not mean they are hoping Starbucks or Titleist will send them special offers linked to their profiles.

Now some people do communicate that way.  They tag or link to something on Twitter when they want a product replaced or want something clarified and companies with a good social media presence will send a response.  It’s an innovative approach to marketing I will admit and with advertising costs always increasing money does not go as far as it used to.

It’s cheaper and much more direct than traditional forms of advertising like print or broadcast but my God is it creepy.  Even email isn’t safe anymore and in an age where identity theft can happen in an instant that is a very real problem.  Just look at the American business world of the last decade or so.  How many people were caught embezzling money or were charged with fraud?  Maybe I’m just paranoid but I don’t trust every single person at every single company that employs targeted advertising.  Greed pushes people too far sometimes and it’s going to be up to the public to tell companies what is okay and what isn’t otherwise they will go as far as they have to in order to improve their bottom lines.

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