Marketing and Privacy

Hubspot has coined the words “Inbound Marketing” to describe the power shift from the vendor to the buyer.  Today a buyer uses the Internet to obtain detailed information about products and sellers, and then uses that information to make a purchase decision…when he is ready to buy.

In obtaining this information, the buyer readily gives up some information about himself.  At a minimum, his/her name and email addresses; more detailed information about his/her company, buying intentions and other demographic data if he/she wants a particular white paper or is promised a discount or savings.

This information flows into the Marketing department and usually into an automated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, often under the control of the CMO but maintained by the IT department.

The video below, produced by the ACLU a few years ago, is a tongue-in-cheek representation of what might happen if this information becomes freely available.  However, with data mining tools and loose security it is not too far fetched.

Ordering Pizza in the Future

It is important to note that the EU has an entirely different view of data privacy than the US.  If you work within a multi-national and/or are collecting information about people from outside the US, you need to take added steps to secure this information.

As CMO, are you comfortable that your customer information is secure and cannot slip out of your company?  If not, do you know what steps to take to make it secure?

RHM

11/19/2009

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