As part of researching my new business adventure, I went to my first Internet Marketing Meet-up last night. I know that a successful marketing strategy is critical to all businesses. I also know that Internet Marketing and Digital Marketing are exciting and emerging fields that will be very useful to achieve the marketing goals of most companies in the future if not already today. These new marketing techniques improve the way businesses communicate and track customers. However, as the Search Engine Marketing experts were describing the tricks and techniques of Google’s search and tracking capabilities at the Meet-up last night, the inevitable push back appeared from others in the room who did not like the feeling of being watched by Big Brother, even if Big Brother Google [or Bing/Microsoft, or FaceBook, etc.] tell us to not worry, just trust them with the details of how it works. Hmmm, are my spidey senses of distrust tingling for no good reason? 😮
As a business owner trying to sell a service using Internet & Digital Marketing technology, I concluded it will be important for me to go beyond the technical and monetary details of how the new technology works. It will also be vital to understand how the use of the technology might inadvertently lead to the negative feelings of “creepiness” and loss of privacy in my customers. I certainly don’t want to be perceived by my customers as an “Internet Stalker” or as a company that secretly profits from undisclosed selling of their information. The potential loss of trust could be disastrous.
For business owners, my personal belief/hope is that Internet/Digital Marketing technology will continue to evolve. But the use of the new marketing technology will be guided by concepts found in 1) ClueTrain Manifesto and 2) Pull Marketing (John Hagel III). New advances in Internet and Digital Marketing will continue. This is a good thing, but it’s never too late to overlay an ethical marketing filter to whatever marketing strategy you adopt for your business.
For consumers, pay attention to what information you give to companies and how it comes back to you. Demand that companies protect your privacy. Avoid doing business with companies that you don’t trust. The Internet gives you more power to speak out when companies do not respect your privacy. Use it!