Dear Marketer: The Oval Office Called. It Wants Its Privacy Back.

 Yesterday, the White House released a long-awaited set of recommendations that are focused on helping individuals take greater control of how their data is collected and used for online marketing purposes. It includes what's being referred to as a "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights."

The language is vague. The timeline to completion is long. The guidelines, for now, are "opt-in" for organizations. All true.

But folks? The glory days of scraping and selling and repurposing customer data are over. The Oval Office has spoken on the issue of privacy and personal data, and its bill of rights is crystal clear: Tell me what you’re collecting, how you’re using it, protect it well, give me a copy, and give me a chance to correct it, delete it, or opt out entirely.

Sound familiar? It should.  

We've written about personal identity management because we recognize that:

  1. Individuals want relevant offers and content, along with all the other great stuff that comes with sharing personal data.
  2. But, they are worried about privacy, security, and identity on the Web — and these concerns are only increasing.
  3. So, Do Not Track, the Privacy Bill of Rights, and similar guidelines will gain widespread approval and adoption . . .
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CI FAIL: The Valentine's Day Edition

Despite being something of a romantic, I don't really go in much for the so-called "Hallmark Holidays." In fact, this XKCD comic sums up my feelings rather perfectly:

Still, I'm very aware that lots of other people enjoy Valentine's Day, and that it's a holiday that's just begging for CI pros to get more strategic about. Leveraging shared wish lists is one use case I really like, as is intelligent (read: permission-based) householding. Imagine, for example, a travel company that enables a couple to "gift" each other a special dinner or spa treatment during a shared vacation. 

But sometimes, CI goes horribly awry, as I recently experienced with Proflowers.com. I offer Exhibit A:

This email was sent to my email address, but addressed to my ex-husband. It's not hard to understand how this could happen: householding snafus might sometimes create a false connection between an email address and a first name, for example. In the grand scheme of things, if I was going to put CI Fails on a TSA-scale rating, I'd give this one a very bright yellow.

But embarrassingly (for all involved) it got worse. Just a few days later, another of Proflowers' brands, Shari's Berries, sent me this email:

In case it wasn't obvious? I'm not Kimberly.  

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Facebook Or Google: Who Will Win the Customer Engagement Battle?

Plenty’s been written already about Facebook’s IPO filing yesterday. I won’t rehash the many excellent analyses that you’ve surely already seen.

Instead, I want to take this blog post into thought-experiment territory. I want to think about a world in which Google and Facebook are primary competitors in a mano-a-mano battle—not just for our eyeballs, but for our data, too. For the right, as it were, to be our “digital identity.”

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Over the holidays, my mother—67 year old tech-accepter, Kindle-owner, smartphone-avoider—called me into the office to show me her Facebook newsfeed. “How,” she asked, “do they know that I’m interested in Persian classical music and that I live in Los Angeles?” As I was explaining behavioral targeting and computational advertising, I glanced over at the computer, only to see her click through and order tickets from that Facebook ad.

So I asked, “Do you trust Facebook?” To which she replied, “Of course not!” as she entered her credit card number, home address, and email address for a very spendy concert ticket.

“Do you trust Google?” I asked. “More than Facebook, I suppose,” she answered. “But Facebook shows me stuff I like more often than Google does.” 

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That experience, plus a brainstorm with my colleagues on the Customer Intelligence team here at Forrester got me thinking: What if, as a consumer, you had to choose between Facebook and Google? Which service is more valuable to you? Which will BE more valuable in the future? I decided to compare the competitors (and let there be no mistake—Facebook’s S-1 filing very clearly identifies Google as Enemy No. 1) across the dimensions of Forrester’s customer engagement cycle:

 

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