June 11, 2002 Volume 2 Issue 1
Too Much Privacy?
Guess I'm tired of it.
Oh, not privacy. Mine is as precious to me as yours is to you. Yet, there is a time all the talk about it gets to me. That time is now! And I'm tired of it.
A Scripps Howard News Service writer dropped in on a few companies in Abilene, Texas USA. Nice small town - with a country-western song or two written about it, too. The message was the newspaper in town, one of the main banks and most other companies in the area are deep into monitoring their employees. Their on the job E-mail activity, Internet surfing and other activities. Like telemarketing. And personal 1:1 communication with customers.
The bottom line is employees have next to no privacy in the work place. Still, employers "must" respect the wishes of customers. And thus have created a detailed and strong monitoring policy. The article gives the impression most businesses feel this is the right thing to do.
About the same time this story breaks there is another; seems a well known diet company got in bed with a major super market chain. The two swapped information on
common customers. The grocery store used the knowledge about who dieting to make special and appropriate offers. The diet company used the reverse knowledge to learn which customers were following the food/eating plan, and which were cheating.
Reminds me of the US Supreme Court nominee from several years back. Some far too nosey elected political official wanted to know what videos this guy had rented. Had it been me, my response would go like this; "None of your darn business!" That's how I feel about these supposed marketing ideas too ... "It's none of your darn business what I eat, don't eat, when or why."
Yet, I do see the other side. Which puts those of us in marketing in a Catch 22 situation on the privacy issue. The more we know and use intelligently about our customers and prospects, the more efficient and effective we are. And the more our customers like us. Because we talk with them about things important to them.
On the opposite side, the less a customer shares with us, the less likely we are to make the right offer at the right time. The less we know, the more likely we are to be off base. In reverse, the more our customer tells us, their likes, dislikes, wants, hopes, desires and needs, the better job we can do of marketing to them. i.e., we make the right offer at the right time.
In my decades in this business I've never had a client who wanted to talk to everyone. They only want to send their message to those who could buy what they sell. Not a single client asked to scatter their message to the 7 winds - they wanted, instead, to target the audience. Talk only to a specific marketplace. Because that approach to marketing is both effective and efficient.
So, to me, for at least the last 25 years, the entire privacy issue has been an oxymoron. The more we know about you, the customer, the prospect, the better job we can do of communicating with you. We'll only talk to those who truly wish to hear what we have to share.
This means, in short, when you give up selected pieces of your privacy you'll enjoy a much nicer lifestyle. Because marketing, advertising and sales will bring you news you won't get any other way.
Of course, another version of this story comes from those who have been ripped off. Most often by the 'bad guys'. Companies put on this planet to steal your time, money, good name, credit and your "stuff".
Sadly, what has happened to the greatest marketing / advertising / merchandising / sales promotion / direct marketing / public relations country on earth - the United States of America - is we've make laws for the less than 1% who cause pain and suffering to the few. Even when the rest of us don't need, want nor appreciate the approach. Or the law.
Well, I'd like to pass just one more law; and that is we can't pass any more laws! We have far too many today, already. The USA has more law than any country on earth. The State of Ohio, with something like 10-11 million residents, has more law than the country of Japan with 125+ million.
Mark Twain said it first; "The most common thing about common sense is it isn't very common." Bingo! Instead of laws and rules and regulations, let's teach and educate. Let's use a bit of common sense.
My life includes a pair of granddaughters. One a teen-ager, the other 20 something. If you've kids in your life, you know this next statement is true; the "X" and "Y" generation learns by experience. Dictate, as with a "law", and you're much less likely to land on a pair of receptive ears. "Teach", as with a story, an idea, an experience - and they get it.
How 'bout all of us in business taking this as our approach, too? Use a little of that Mark Twain common sense; and teach our employee team and our customer marketplace how to work together for everyone's benefit. And profit!
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.