Thursday, December 13, 2007

Marketing Paradox – December 13, 2007

cartoon courtesy of Daveloa
As a male consumer (and a purveyor of cool), I enjoy hearing about intriguing new products and stuff geared for my lifestyle. How I learn about that stuff is a different story.

I’ve suffered through thousands of feminine hygiene advertisements, I’ve been bombarded with erectile dysfunction messages, and I’ve been subjected to retirement commercials more times than I have seen my own face in the mirror. The PROBLEM is that these ads have absolutely nothing to do with me, however, the companies paid millions of dollars to make sure I heard their message.

Rather than annoy me with crap, doesn’t behavioral and targeted advertising make sense? The Center for Digital Democracy says no! The biggest gripe the CDD has with marketers is that they violate personal privacy as they gather and accumulate data (online and offline) about their target audience. Jeff Chester, founder and executive director of the CDD wants companies to be able to deliver appropriate messages to niche audiences, but the data about the “target” can not be personally identifiable.

This poses a huge paradox; People only want to see ads that interest them, but marketers aren’t allowed to collect personal data about their audience. How then are marketers supposed to deliver relevant advertising? Of course marketers can develop highly detailed personas that are representative of their target audiences. However, marketers must observe the true behavior of the audience in order to develop the most effective media and messaging to reach them.

It should be interesting to see what the Federal Trade Commission deems appropriate. More to follow on this later.

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