Personalisation, Privacy, and Value – is Marketing out of Control?

Today I came across a short discussion on personalisation, privacy, and their value between two great analysts – Esteban Kolsky and Ben Kepes – who, naturally, take different positions. I mean, where would the value of a discussion be when everybody agrees from the outset …

Whereas Ben maintains that he very much accepts having his behaviour, whereabouts and preferences collected (in the example by Google) and used to receive targeted advertisements that match his interests Esteban counters that it is none of Google’s business – and you can freely replace Google with any other brand name – to know this and use this, without your explicit consent.

Though I think that targeted marketing can be better than the scatter-gun approach of earlier times I side with Esteban. I do not want to become the “target” of a “marketing attack” in Washington DC when I happen to show up there in May, just because Apple and Google, and name-them-all, know that I like a good coffee. If, and when I want a coffee (and it is rather a question of when than one of if), I am perfectly able to find the next coffee shop that I deem fitting. The same holds true for sports gear, appliances, watches, you name it. I want to be able to opt in, probably only for a limited time, and opt out again eventually, knowing that my data doesn’t get sold off and that it gets deleted after me opting out.

Yeah, I am a little dreamer … but so far the value of highly targeted advertising is more on the business side than on the customer side. As long as this doesn’t change why would I accept or even like my data being used? And things have become so much easier for businesses and their marketers with the advent of smartphones.

It has gone out of control!

This is also one of the main ideas behind Epikonic: Enable people to easily switch on and off communications with a business.

Why? Because the business is there to provide value to the customer. Only if that outside-in thought becomes prevalent marketing has a chance of becoming valuable to customers. Until then the products and services rendered, the experiences that I have at every touch point, is the best marketing for a business and customers are their best marketeers.