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Personalization is more powerful than intrusive batch-and-blast ecommerce

Personalization is more powerful than intrusive batch-and-blast ecommerce

By Michael Gaffney

The demise of batch-and-blast ecommerce has been foretold by several writers – Davidson and Senne, among others – over the past 24 months. However, our inboxes are still being filled with emailed offers from senders without any differentiation. You get the same offer as I do, and so do innumerable other folks. Hence the term batch and blast.

Merchants that are still practicing batch-and-blast ecommerce solutions are in danger. If your reputation as a merchant is important, then recognize that sender-reputation algorithms are becoming more and more vigilant at identifying batch-and-blast spam. The poorer the targeting and personalization of your online communications with consumers, the lower your online reputation scores.

The question has to be asked: Why are merchants still using batch and blast? The answer is simple: Because it’s easy to do, and there are a ton of resources already built and ready to deliver this solution.

To attract highly valued customers, merchants are turning to the tremendous growth in online shopping and the various products that help promote and sell their products. Merchants must convert searches to web visits, web visits to shopping carts and shopping carts to purchases. All along the buying journey, they also must create stronger customer loyalty, accelerate repeat purchases, retain customers and, most importantly, have a customer-conquest strategy.

The key to moving away from batch and blast is personalization. Currently, personalization on the web is considered to be the tailoring of pages to individual users’ characteristics or preferences. However, the source of data about users’ characteristics or preferences are, in large part, the numerous information-scraping tools that watch and monitor your browsing behaviour. Security software vendor Sentor estimates that 23% of total web traffic is now related to information scraping. This number is shocking in its size. But it is also interesting because it indicates the high demand for information about consumers that is required to support personalization efforts.

Most of the information collected by information scraping is secondary data. By contrast, merchants are mainly interested in primary data. I won’t get into the benefits and differences between primary and secondary data.; it’s enough to say that the more primary data available to a merchant, the better the personalization.

Dodoname was designed to be a primary-data-personalization solution. The consumer’s Dodoname Persona is completed directly by the consumer. The meta data of their purchasing behaviour inside the Dodoname application of clicks, favourites, purchases and shares is another source of powerful primary data. With Dodoname, merchants can seamlessly move from batch and blast to personalization and more successful ecommerce because Dodoname was designed as a marketing and sales platform to take consumers from promotion through to converting shopping baskets.

(Image: flickr, Alone by Paul Friel, link.)

Posted in: Blog, Persona

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Classic relationship marketing diminishes the privacy of the consumer

Classic relationship marketing diminishes the privacy of the consumer

By Michael Gaffney

Privacy research firm, Pew Research, in the “The Future of Privacy” reported that ‘Internet privacy is a fantasy’ and that 55 percent of the population don’t believe that a ‘privacy-rights infrastructure by 2025 that allows for business innovation and monetization while also offering individuals choices for protecting their personal information in easy-to-use formats’ is achievable. We all need to remember that the remaining 45 percent is still a very large number.

Most disruptive events, political, social or technological, come from a tiny percentage of the population evoking a cause or an entrepreneur creating something new and needed. Dr. Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs were but two people in that 45 percent determined to make a change and they were quite disruptive to say the least. The doom and gloom naysayers who write provocative headlines like ‘privacy is a fantasy’ should provide motivation for the 45 percent who are concerned about privacy.

Relationship marketing is a relatively new phenomenon. It evolved out of the 1960’s when consumers began to have more competitive product alternatives to choose from and where there was sustained demand for those products. Merchants had to change from being focusing on the economics of supply to focus on demand. The foundations of what came to be known as relationship marketing – customer recruitment, retention and satisfaction – became the dominant focus of marketers for the past 50 years.

However, relationship marketing has seriously diminished privacy of the consumer. Why? Because by definition a ‘relationship’ typically means some form of intimate knowledge of the other party – in this case the consumer. In marketing terms, it means that the merchant, to effectively market to a consumer, needs lots of information about that consumer. Consumer data is captured, typically without prior knowledge or consent, in a number of ways by merchants. Facebook, Google and other social media sites have only accelerated the loss of privacy. Moreover, corporate customer relationship management (CRM) systems appear to be failing regularly in terms of data breaches and CRM’s are the key repositories of customer information.

So, what are consumers to do given all the scraping of our private information and the data breaches from CRM’s? Privacy and security have been foundations of society as long as we humans have been on the planet. Privacy is complex. We want privacy from our governments; privacy from the prying eyes of the public – especially if you are famous; privacy and protection from the bad guys; and privacy and protection from the merchants that hound us. Dodoname was created to address privacy from merchants and other consumer to business transactions and help address the risk of your data being stolen in a data breach.

How does Dodoname resolve relationship marketing and the loss of privacy? First of all, we designed a system that starts with the consumer in control of their personal and private information. Second, we designed a system that does not even capture your private information – only personal information. What is the difference between private and personal information? Private information is your actual name, street address, telephone number, credit card and banking information. Personal information is your sex, age (not birth date), postal code, married/single, likes, hobbies, etc. At Dodoname, we call the collection of your personal information your Persona. Remember, your Persona never includes your private information. Marketers don’t really need your private information if they have your Persona information. Hackers can hack us all they want but they can’t get what we don’t have. Relationship marketing and its problems with privacy breaches is solved when Consumers use Dodonames and Merchants market to Dodonames.

(Image: Flickr, Bernard Goldbach, link)

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Persona, Privacy

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The privacy dilemma

The privacy dilemma

By Michael Gaffney

When it comes to privacy, the needs of consumers and those of merchants are, on the surface, opposing forces: merchants need detailed information about consumers for personalization while consumers desire control over their personal information and how it is used for marketing purposes. This is, in a nutshell, the privacy dilemma.

Merchants want to know as much as they can about consumers because that information guides and directs the kinds of products to build for consumers, the messaging around those products and increases the conversion rates of those marketed to. In a 3,000-channel world, the merchant is desperate to gather and use information to exactly target a single individual. This is called personalization. Personalization is the process of tailoring communications and product features to individual users’ characteristics or preferences.

Personalization requires detailed information about the consumer. Currently, most of this information is collected without the consumer’s permission. Consumers think that they have opted in to share only a ‘little bit’ of themselves – how little we know! The advent of single sign on (“SSO”) has increased convenience while dramatically increasing privacy invasions. Using your Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin account to sign into a service creates a security risk. Using SSO makes it easy for one site to show the consumer’s actions and activities to other websites.

Using SSO opens a window to your privacy. Identity management should be a critical concern of all consumers. Online reputation is becoming more and more important, for both the consumer and for the merchant. ‘Big data’ is upon us and having correct information about consumers has an increasing monetary value.

Consumer concern about privacy is well known to be the number one issue of online consumers but consumer behavior regarding privacy is often contradictory to that fact. We claim to worry about privacy but we willingly surrender personal information all the time without really understanding where it goes and how it will be used.

How do I protect my privacy and still get the things I want on the Internet? Use a Dodoname whenever you need to register with a merchant. Since a Dodoname is not connected to any private information, there is nothing to be leaked or hacked. The opt-in persona function is your personal ‘marketing avatar’ that merchants can research and review to send offers without invading consumer privacy. Thanks to Dodoname, the privacy dilemma is solved.

(Image: Flickr, Mosier J., link)

Posted in: Blog, Persona, Privacy

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Still using burner email accounts? It really is throwback Thursday

Still using burner email accounts? It really is throwback Thursday

Way back in the halcyon days of the mid ’90s, the Internet-using public was introduced to webmail. Lycos, mail.com, Hotmail and other web-based email services started to gain popularity. Pretty soon, most everyone was using a Rocketmail or a Yahoo account alongside the address provided by their Internet service provider. One for so-called “real” email, one for those times that you need to provide an email address but you just know that by doing so, you’ll unleash a torrent of spam.

In researching this post, I came across articles with titles like “Why you need at least 4 email addresses,” “9 reasons why you should have more than one email address,” and “10 reasons to have more than one email address.” Each of these articles reference spam and control of your online persona as reasons for creating and using burner accounts. A comment on one of the posts says it all, “I have three, but I’m really getting sick of managing and remembering passwords.” You said it, commenter.

Using the “spam” burner account to enter a contest? Congratulations: you’ve avoided all the spam! And maybe you won the contest, but you’ll never know because you can’t be bothered to filter through all the spam in that account to see if you won! Sorta defeats the purpose, no?

Using your standard password with that webmail account? Bad news: when the inevitable hack or data breach happens, now your password is out there, in the hands of nefarious cybercriminals. Some of these hackers are creating algorithms, cross referencing multiples data breaches and hacks to get all of the personal data that they can about the victims of the breach. Your identity is just a handful of clicks away. And once it’s been compromised, lots of bad things can happen that impact your privacy.

With Dodoname, there’s no need to remember and manage all those email accounts and passwords. Interactions with merchants appear in your Dodoname inbox. Want to unsubscribe? You can do so easily and once you’re unsubscribed with Dodoname, you’re really unsubscribed. The spammer can never contact you again.

You need to have 4 email addresses? No. You need Dodoname.

(Image: Flickr, Gideon Tsang, link)

Posted in: #TBT, Blog, Email, Persona, Privacy, Spam

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This week in review: lying to protect your online persona, data brokers, data breaches, tools and more

This week in review: lying to protect your online persona, data brokers, data breaches, tools and more

By Don Dobson

In our weekly roundup, we want to draw your attention to news and articles that highlight issues relating to invasions of your online privacy and threats to the security of your personal data: problems that Dodoname can solve. Catching our attention this week were posts about a wooden boy’s approach to online personas, the list you’re on that you didn’t know you were on, (settlement) money talks, data breaches and hackers and tools: oh my! 

Do you have to set your pants on fire to secure your online persona?

Privacy and data security is all over the news, from celebrity hacking to the retail sphere. It’s hard to know how to protect yourself these days but Adam Levine, writing for ABC News has some advice for protecting your personally identifiable information (PII). “Lie like you were in a nose-growing contest with Pinocchio.” Hmmm…isn’t there a better way?

Congratulations: you made the list! Oh, wait: that’s a bad thing. 

The capture and use of consumer data by so called “data brokers” is slowly starting to enter wider consumer awareness but it is clearly not yet widely understood. In an article for Bloomberg.com, Shannon Pettypiece and Jordan Robertson ask; Did You Know You Had Diabetes? It’s All Over the Internet.   “People would be shocked if they knew they were on some of these lists,” said Pam Dixon, president of the non-profit advocacy group World Privacy Forum, who has testified before Congress on the data broker industry. “Yet millions are.”

Dot those online marketing i’s or pony up the dough

Companies across sectors are struggling to keep up with privacy laws and consumer expectations for use of their data for marketing purposes. While the case did not involve any data breach or unauthorized disclosure, in September, the FTC announced Verizon Communications Inc. will pay $7.4 million to settle a U.S. investigation that found the company failed to notify properly some customers of their privacy rights before using their information for marketing.

IT professionals on data protection: meh?

Retailers are also clearly playing catch up on all aspects of data security, not just marketing data. Mila D’Antonio writing in the 1 to 1 Media Blog shines some light on retailer practices in the post, The Home Depot Data Breach Shines a Light on CIOs’ Lackadaisical Attitude Toward Data Defense. D’Antonio notes; “The mounting number of companies that have experienced data breaches seem to point to IT professionals taking data protection lightly.”

No such thing as bad publicity? These retailers might disagree

CNN Money has published an interesting tool you can use to discover how some major retailers have been impacted by hackers and note; “Every month, there’s another major data breach. Criminal hackers steal all sorts of information about you. Here’s what they have.”

The kids are alright (when it comes to online privacy tools)

While it seems to be a commonly held belief that privacy is disappearing and the younger set have no concerns with that, Molly Woods in the New York Times “Bits” blog suggests that teenagers and millennials “appear to be more likely to embrace the tools of privacy and protect their personal information.” She offered Pew Research Center data that suggested most Internet users have taken some kind of steps to avoid being identified or tracked online, while most also thought true online anonymity was impossible. Woods notes, “They might be right about anonymity, but others might still argue that keeping at least some privacy is worth a shot.” The Dodoname team agrees with that assessment!

 

Posted in: Blog, Data breach, Persona, Privacy, This week in review

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