I read an interesting “tidbit” from Dick Gorelick the other day. Although many find Dick’s critical cynicism bothersome, I find it refreshing. He challenges the status quo and that’s a good thing. His comments were based on research by Princeton Survey Research Associates International which found that when individuals were informed about the methods used to gather data in order to personalize advertising (tracking of activities on websites, history of behavior on websites previously visited, offline shopping behavior, and history), as many as 86% of respondents said they do not want that advertising. Almost 70% support a law that would allow consumers to access all the data known about them due to Internet tracking, and 92% favor a law requiring websites and marketers to delete all stored information about a consumer upon request. Gorlick’s question was “what does this portend for the model of 1:1 marketing and the future of the print/marketing provider utilizing digital technology?”
I think this is a valid discussion – many will not want to hear it because we are creating an entire industry (or reforming it) based on the ability to customize the message. From the marketer’s perspective, it’s equivalent to the Holy Grail. To the individual who does not like direct marketing in his mail box; does not like phone calls from phone solicitors; and dislikes spam (doesn’t that sound like most of us?), he or she will have a very strong message which can be sent to legislators regarding privacy.
This topic should be very important to firms who are beginning to embrace the Marketing Services Provider (MSP) model. As these firms travel down the path of dealing with “soft” issues like marketing and buyer perceptions rather than “hard” issues like dots and paper, life becomes much more complex. We’re no longer in Kansas, Toto.