I’m currently carry out a little research using Google Books - a technique I use frequently to scan read marketing books from the 80’s and 90’s to bring a little sense to the uber-digital world that I currently work in. There’s a lot of useful, practical examples of techniques from pre-internet days that those of us who have only ever worked in the internet age are likely unaware of - and while I’ve been doing this for over 12 years, marketing has been around considerably longer.
Anyway, I digress.
While scanning a couple of books this morning a quotation appeared in two separate books from 2003 describing segmentation techniques and how to approach customer targeting - which made me think about the recent privacy issues we’re hearing of in web analytics, adserving, behavioural targeting and the like:
The computer and modern data processing provide the refinement – the means to treat individuals as individuals rather than parts of a large aggregate … the treatment of an individual as an individual will not be an unmixed blessing. Problems concerning the protection of privacy will be large.
So, this privacy thing is not new, in fact it’s been in the minds of marketers for over 40 years now. Have organisations like Safecount (now a for profit WPP company not a lobbying / protection group) addressed the public concerns over privacy? Are organisations like the Web Analytics Association and the IAB lobbying hard enough for standards and openness?
What of Social Media: With people increasingly opening up their lives to real-time streaming is this a privacy concern? Is it ethical for marketers to extract this data for segmentation and targeting purposes? Should the public think more about protecting their personal data? Interesting topics that will become increasingly important as software and tool give us the ability to crawl, collect, segment and analyse behaviour, attitudes and needs.