May 7, 2002 Volume 1 Issue 48
Is "Spyware" Invading Your Privacy
Privacy is an issue because a very few stepped waaaay over the line.
Permission marketing is an issue because we have allowed a single marketing media (electronic) to make it an issue. Not because it should be mandatory - instead, because we allow it to be.
So, what are we in marketing to do? How are we to act, and still bring to our buyers and prospects the best in service?
Well, first, let's look at a few things happening today. And "yes", you may have read or heard a few of these words elsewhere. I've done a ton of reading on this topic. My E-zine in-box has new input almost daily. Plus, the mass media has dumped on all of us. Yet, because I'm a marketing guy, first a few current events and what they mean to you and me.
Let's begin with drivers licenses. For some silly reason I allowed my social security number to become my drivers license number. When I renew this year that is changing. Why? Because the USA government, the financial and medical fields have been sloppy with the system. Not all - of course not all. Yet, it only takes one - and we have what is called "identity theft". Which, according to a recent report in USA Today, takes an average of 4 years to clear up, once it happens. 4 years! Not good.
Example; sports bars and convenience stores are using your drivers license and a reading machine to confirm you are in fact at least 21 years of age. And thus eligible to enter or buy select products. Yet, there is more. The scanner reads not only the ID data on the front of the card - it reads the magnetic strip on the back, too. Meaning a database can be built of customers - with more knowledge than your best friends may know about you. Including your social security number.
Although I disagree with the American Civil Liberties Union about as often as I may agree, Barry Steinhardt of that group says it well;
"Function creep is a primary rule of databases and identifiers."
How true. The law prevents the sale of alcohol and tobacco to the underage. Yet, no one said anything about capturing, enhancing and using that information for other purposes. I guess because no one thought of it. Well, now someone has thought of it.
Privacy invaded is a high probability with this system. And if your SS#, like mine, is on that license doc - identity theft is another possibility. Really, not good.
Let's move to your computer. Keeping the same subject on the table, privacy. From early on we called it "cookies". The newer name is "spyware". Same thing - a system that follows you through your Internet surfing. Frequently without you knowing. Just like you didn't know your drivers license was being used without your permission.
Here's what happens; you download a free software program. Could be a game, music, even a document off a business site. Websense, an Internet monitoring company, says there are 4300 such "shareware" sites, offering their product "free"..
Piggyback you bring "aware, stealthware, spyware" ... a tracking system ... into your computer. The system reports back to the home software folks. And sends back to you, in a fair return, pop-up ads, pop-under ads and a selection of banners - based on where you surf.
The software supplier uses the knowledge they learn to sell advertising. Which they justify when they offer you the software free. They gotta make money somehow ... selling knowledge of their visitors is how they do it.
Chris Hoofnagle of the Electronic Privacy Information Center makes this strong statement;
Well, it is not exactly secret. The fine print of the agreements you quickly "click yes" too has a paragraph about what is going to happen when you use that piece of software. Yet, you get the idea. Because if you are like me, you never read the agreement. And all that legal stuff. So, the process might as well be secret.
Let me return to privacy. I have no problem with being tracked through a web site - and being sent ads of possible interest. That is the American way. One of the reasons we have become the envy of much of the world is because we do offer a choice. You and I learn about choice when there is advertising, marketing, PR, merchandising, sales promotion and direct marketing. Take these disciplines away and we're little better than a third world country.
Yes, I do not think spyware or cookies is invading my privacy. Instead, firms using this technology are using what they learn to bring me a personalized message. Or news I may not know about. And can learn from. I look at this as good - I do not look at this system as evil.
Let's end with a few words about P3P -- Platform for Privacy Preferences. On the surface this organization looks and sounds good. They're creating a privacy system and "selling" the concept to major web sites. A common way to define and talk about privacy. Yet, I am one who is a bit skeptical. Sounds too much like a law or government big brother. Education is one thing - dictatorship is another.
So, I will change my drivers license number - taking my social security number off. Yet, I like it when a marketer markets to me.
Along with mentors. The boss, fellow-workers. Friends. Just being around students at school, the members of a temple, mosque, synagogue or church, an association or club. A friends company. The competition. The neighbors. Kids. By osmoses much sticks.
My time in sales since age 12, in marketing and direct marketing since graduation, have allowed me to have a few thoughts to share. They're available in a collection of products. And you can own any or all!
There's a book - Power Direct Marketing - into it's 4th printing, the last with a revise tossed in at no extra charge. And an audio tape package that goes well with the book. Plus, a set of video tapes that are true workshop style learning devices. And even a couple of CD's.
Programs on the strategy and tactics of planning. On direct mail. The whole creative process. Database marketing. Customer relations. And more. All available at special 21st century pricing.
For details and to place your product order, OR to book Ray to speak and thus get your BONUS!, visit Marketing Products. Or fax 1+810+815-2520. For questions on quantity orders phone Ray at 1+928+785-9400.
A few weeks ago, just before the Oscar awards were announced, John Gaffney wrote an E-article I found to have a direct marketing slant.
It was titled "Marketing Focus ... And the Oscar Goes to Pepsi!"
Gaffney says this; "If they gave out awards for marketing at this year's Academy Awards, PepsiCo would sweep the field. During the telecast Pepsi will show once again how masterfully it uses major TV events to launch online-offline marketing efforts. While other brands are still struggling to figure out how to leverage the Internet, Pepsi is stomping all over Coke and other competitors with its successful integrated campaigns."
As early as the early 1980's I was putting together integrated direct marketing campaigns for high-tech and financial clients. Both B-2-B and consumer. They worked ... because we did all the things you do with DM. We aimed the message at the right people, we had a good offer, and we repeated the message. Just a few weeks ago (my April 16 E-zine, now archived) talked about the need to repeat your message. More from Gaffney: "During the past several years, Pepsi has crafted an effective strategy for running an integrated marketing campaign, and other marketers would be smart to steal a page from its playbook.
"Step one is to create a commercial starring a big-name celebrity who can command enough buzz to entice people to view it online before it airs on television.
"Step two is to give customers an added incentive to register on your WebSite. For instance, Pepsi frequently will host a sweepstakes or let visitors vote for their favorite soda commercials. "Pepsi has done well with the formula. Most recently the beverage giant used this integrated marketing approach for a Britney Spears-driven promotion launched during the 2002 Super Bowl. Pepsi created three different Britney spots and invited Yahoo visitors to view them and vote on their favorite. The commercials were viewed more than 3 million times between Jan. 20 and Feb. 3. More than 415,000 people voted. Add that to the 30 million that saw the Pepsi ads during the Super Bowl telecast, and you have some serious bang for the buck."
Most of us are not Pepsi. We do not have the resources of money and people and we may be short on time. We certainly do not have what Pepsi has. A "big-name celebrity" is not within our reach. Still, we can mesh various media - those most likely to reach our audience - into a full and complete campaign. Which may include a key personality from our business. We can be a winner in our own way. Gaffney ends with this; "To some extent, integrated marketing is all about the data. Pepsi expects to add 500,000 e-mail addresses to its database during this year's Academy Awards effort.
"Having a database full of qualified leads for future promotions is as good as cold cash to a marketer; it represents a list with which to promote new products and gather active customers you can easily communicate with. According to John Vail, Pepsi's online marketing chief, more than 40 percent of the e-mails Pepsi sends out actually get opened -- an impressive figure."
WOW! Yet, why am I not surprised at the 40% figure? Because these people opted-in to a message from Pepsi. If I am surprised it's why the figure isn't more!
So, integrate. And repeat. Then go happily to the bank.
Anonymous is on the job 24/7/365. Just like Murphy - who does some of the strangest things.
This weeks words from Anonymous are also strange. True, and strange;
"Quotes with Direction" has been a part of my web site collection from day one. If you like quotes visit the archives ... www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/. There's a new batch up every 4 weeks.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.