Privacy is hot! The rules are getting stricter, the rumours of huge fines are getting wilder, and consumers are demanding more rigorously that their personal privacy is respected.
The discussion surrounding privacy often sticks to the legalities. The question that we should really be asking though, is: Who can we approach with our message (and without asking) within the boundaries of the law?
Is this really the right question? Data is collected and combined in all kinds of ways. The retailer knows every detail of its customers’ purchasing behaviour. This is valuable information, which isn’t always dealt with as carefully as it should be. Data is great, the technology behind extracting this data is often even greater, but what really matters is what you do with that data! How creative? How smart? How much effort has gone into finding out more about the customers? And then there’s still the matter of privacy.
Converting the data into opportunities is often handled somewhat awkwardly. Remember Target’s epic fail, which went viral recently? The data team at Target has so much insight into consumer buying behaviour that it can even recognise the early stages of pregnancy. That’s pretty handy information, because now you can send targeted offers. And this is sure to make the happy mother-to-be even happier. Or is it? What if you yourself don’t even know you’re pregnant, or you’re a young teen and don’t have the nerve to tell your father you’re having a baby? The father of the teenager this happened to was definitely “not amused”.