In the fast-paced world we live in, many consumers are finding themselves being asked for more and more personal data or exchanging information via the Internet.
Technology is driving much of this occurrence. Whenever something is new, many are guilty of diving in head first without checking to see if anything is lurking below the surface that could be a danger.
This latter is clearly being played out right now via court action with Google on whether a user’s privacy has been violated by reading emails. Regardless of the outcome of the court action, consumers have just been placed on alert, or on guard. While many Google users are not happy with the news of the alleged violation of their privacy, there are other users who are pragmatists.
They know very little being exchanged over the Internet or social media is private. Some users have learned this point the hard way. However, many consumers (users) do expect businesses, at the very least, to be transparent on how information that is being exchanged or collected via on the Internet is being used.
For small-business owners, I offer two words: “Be aware!” Any databased marketing initiatives that are being considered should include a means to advise your potential customers how their information will be used and offer assurances that this information will not be sold.
Transparency is essential to ensuring that, for your marketing purposes, you can continue to have customers be comfortable providing valuable information that helps you determine your product development or service offerings. Additionally, use of social media and brand ambassadors could assist in communicating this message to your customers.
Your staff needs to be trained, as well. For example, there is nothing worse than a customer asking a company representative how data being collected will be used, and get a response such as, “I don’t know.” This becomes a credibility killer even if innocently stated. For Google, consumers may forgive or even forget due to the company’s size and prominence. However, for small-business owners, you don’t always get the same hall pass.
Adele Lassere is a marketing/advertising consultant with 20+ years of experience, freelance writer, and author of “Elements of Buying: A How To Reference Guide on Advertising for Business Owners,” available at Amazon.com. Contact: email@example.com