When it comes to digital marketing, an agency’s reach can quickly exceed its grasp. We had this point brought home to us recently.
At MDT Marketing, we take our creativity with personalized, multi-channel marketing campaigns very seriously. To demonstrate our prowess, we considered sending attendees at the upcoming APSCU Convention a promotional mailer tying in personalized data elements from LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. Good idea?
Maybe not. How much is too much personalization and at what point does a personalized marketing campaign start infringing on an individual’s privacy… or perceived privacy? And when does a campaign cross the line from business-like engagement to over bearing creepiness?
In a May 20, 2014 New York Times article, “Four Words Going Bye-Bye”, columnist Thomas Freidman proclaimed, “The more I read the news, the more it looks to me that four words are becoming obsolete and destined to be dropped from our vocabulary.” One of those words was privacy. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/21/opinion/friedman-four-words-going-bye-bye.html?_r=0
People have no idea how the information that they voluntarily give out to others, (perhaps on forms that we fill out on the Internet or pictures that people take of us) can be pulled together through advances in “big data” and data analytic technology, exposing personal lives to the world. They also don’t realize how the personal information they put on the Internet years ago is still out there for businesses, individuals and countries to utilize, sometimes in deceptive, even nefarious ways.
Back to our brainstorming meeting about ideas to promote our multi-channel personalized communications program. We decided that since this was a business to business campaign, we would feel comfortable utilizing information from attendee LinkedIn accounts, knowing that they put this information on LinkedIn for everyone to see. We also decided not to use any information from Facebook or Google+ accounts, concluding that those users often post information they think is private, not realizing that they may have used the wrong privacy settings when starting an account.
We are in a day and age where information about people’s lives is becoming more and more available. And it can… and will be used in ways in which we never dreamed of, wanted or intended. I think that Thomas Friedman is right when he points out that our privacy is gone. Or at least the presumption of privacy is gone.
The curtain to our society’s backlit room may have been left open. Whether we can resist the temptation to look in as we pass is up to each of us.
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