Monday, August 25, 2008

Cutting Consumers In On The Action

On Friday, I wrote about the difference between tracking and targeting as it relates to the average consumer's tolerance for data collection and usage in marketing. Basically, my point was that people are generally ok with companies using their data to track performance (it's no different than cashiers asking customers, "How did you hear about us?") but get uncomfortable when that data is used to target them specifically (imagine cashiers asking, "Seeing has how you're a 55-year old woman who bought wrinkle cream last week, may I recommend this collagen treatment?")

Now, many people (primarily those in the marketing industry) would say the latter scenario is not that unfavorable -- people would/should be happy to get more relevant offers in exchange for sharing their data, especially if it's non-personally identifiable.

I disagree.

As far as I'm concerned, there are 2 main reasons people are comfortable sharing their data with you whether it be online or in "the real world."

1. They know you
2. They trust you

It's very rare for a company to be able to check either of those boxes until a person has become an active customer.

Ya Gotta Give To Receive

People are generally willing to share their data (sometimes even personally-identifiable info) for warranties, coupons, discounts, etc. But these tactics typically work better in retention marketing, not acquisition marketing because the consumer knows you and trusts you more once they’ve become a customer.

So how do companies that don't yet have you as a customer and, thus, haven't yet been able to build up any trust get you to give them your data so they can better target their acquisition marketing messages to you?

Well, today, they turn to online media properties and networks who have collected this info and engage in tactics like behavioral targeting.

However, with all the scrutiny being put on these practices by government bodies and the increasingly vocal public outcry, we need to start looking for other methods.

The problem with behavioral targeting as it exists today is that, by and large, people aren't aware it's happening. And when they find out, they get pissed off.

Do You Want the Money or Do You Want the Mob?

So why do we continue to try and find new and innovative ways to leverage 3rd parties (eg, Quividi and NebuAd, which I discussed in my last post) to get people's data and better target ads?

Why don't marketers take their case right to the consumer? And why don't they give them the ultimate incentive to pony up their data?

Cashish. Payola. Dinero.

Let's stop trying to be cute and call it what it is. Me: Marketer. You: Consumer. I need to know who you are to determine if you might like my product. Rather than pay other people to find out who you are and show you my message, I'll pay you directly.

Deal or No Deal?

Is this a viable proposition? Will people part with their data for cold hard cash? Will marketers pay for the right to get people's data in order to better target their ads?

Last summer I did a little experiment to test this out. Tomorrow I'll share the results.

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