Merchants who want to connect with customers based on location will be cheered to hear about the new details in the Location-Based Services report from the Pew Research Center. Consumers are growing more comfortable with smartphone location features, especially those who use the devices to navigate. People of all ages are revealing their locations, some automatically, through social media. At the same time, fewer are taking the time to use check-in location services. These trends all have implications for marketers.
Millennials are supposed to be the most sharing generation. Their relaxed attitudes about online privacy have driven marketers to customize and personalize promotional pitches. The only problem is that at least 1/3 of younger consumers are taking action to hide from online advertising according to the Pew Research Anonymity, Privacy and Security Online report.
As marketers consider the future and how much consumer data to share online, the privacy issue is a key concern. As I mentioned in one of Wednesday’s blog posts, McCann’s new study on privacy shows that consumer attitudes on this topic are shifting. Marketers who get it right can use consumer data to great advantage without stirring controversy that could damage the brand.
One of the most exciting new promotional angles from a marketer’s perspective, mobile check-ins, could backfire if merchants aren’t careful about how they use it. Marketers competing for consumer business by offering prizes rely heavily on the use of mobile phones. While certain consumer groups have accepted this marketing method, many others aren’t so willing to sign up. Instead, they’re signaling they want to limit the amount of private information they share with marketers.
They are considered one of the most difficult audiences to reach – the educated and affluent. But once a marketer connects with this group, it can tap into the influence these consumers have over their friends and families. Increasingly, marketers can reach this select consumer group through Google and Facebook. However, they need to assure these consumers that they will protect their privacy.
Marketers have been busily educating themselves and designing online ad campaigns to behaviorally target consumers who might be interested in purchasing their products and services. At the same time, industry watchdogs have been publishing articles about the dangers of this marketing practice. Several ad industry associations have endorsed a new self-regulatory program that was announced earlier this year. But that action may not be enough to prevent possible regulatory activity by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The agency has already solicited comments from consumers and industry officials and plans to release an additional report on this topic on January 31, 2011.