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What To Include In Your Mobile Privacy Policy

January 7th, 2014
It's well known that mobile devices are compact storehouses of vast amounts of data that they seem eager to broadcast to the world, which makes it all the more baffling that few companies have discussed -- much less implemented -- mobile-specific privacy policies. Putting off such a move ("procrastination" is such a negative word) may have made sense up to now to give us all time to get a handle on what the limits should be, but you really will regret waiting much longer. This new year we have entered may be a good time to craft a mobile privacy policy. If you've decided to do that, here are some things to consider.

You do really need a policy. Your employees expect IT to protect them, and your company's executives expect you to make sure that corporate data is protected from the things that employees do with their mobile devices. But your customers also want to know what you're doing with their data, and various contractors, distributors, suppliers and anyone else in your network need to know what they aren't allowed to do.Read more...


Target Announces a “We’ve Been Breached” Christmas Sale

December 21st, 2013
Data breaches can happen to anyone so I have no desire to give Target a hard time for having been successfully attacked by cyberthieves. But when a retailer tries to take a situation where it was unable to protect its customer information and turn it into a means of getting those victims to give you more money, that's pushing it. And push it is precisely what Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel did Friday (Dec. 20) when he announced a special Data Breach Sale where he encouraged people to come back to Target, spend more money and give up more payment and he'd offer 10 percent off on Dec. 21 and Dec. 22. In other words, he's offering to do exactly what Target would typically do near the end of a critical holiday sales period.

If this is indeed apology money, why not make it a clean refund to impacted shoppers, which Target said is at least 40 million people? Instead of a refund, he is asking people to pay a mere 90 percent of the sticker price. Is this discount just for those 40 million victims? No, it's offered to everyone anywhere. What is the CEO's stated rationale for offering the discount universally? He said it was in the "spirit" of "we're in this together." Yeah, I'm sure that those 40 million potential fraud victims feel like they're in this with non-Target shoppers and the non-impacted shoppers and especially Target shoppers who just happened to not buy from the stores on the days the thieves were siphoning the data.Read more...


Instagram Direct: A Clever Way To Direct A Lot More Consumer Data To Marketers

December 17th, 2013
In an interesting marketing play, Instagram on Thursday (Dec. 12) announced that it would offer a new service—to be called Instagram Direct—where its users could send messages and images to small subsets of their friends and families. At the news conference, Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom tied the rollout to the holiday, saying "As we as we enter into the holidays, it's a perfect time to be able to share with a small group or someone you love." That's true, as long as the someone you love includes marketers who will getting quite a Santa sack full of personal information about you and your friends.

The dirty not-so-secret secret with all of these social programs is it's always been about how much data can be collected from consumers, to be turned around and used to send increasingly personalized sales pitches. (Kind of gives Secret Santa a whole new meaning.) The two motherloads of shopping data are not-coincidentally both involved in this Instagram deal: photographs (and their associated metadata) and relationship connections. Why relationship connections? If you're a consumer goods manufacturer (think Toyota, Nike, Nabisco, Sony), a retailer (think Walmart, Macy's, Target, Amazon) or a marketing firm (think Genghis Kahn, Idi Amin, Mussolini), how much is it worth to you to know which consumers are close friends or close relatives with other specific consumers? As a major gift-giving occasion comes up for the first consumer, how would you like to be able to send highly-customized pitches to those people who are close friends/relatives of that consumer?Read more...


Mobile Is Changing So Many Enterprise Decisions—Even In A Store’s Dressing Room

November 26th, 2013
The penetration of mobile into so many unexpected parts of business is forcing quite a few new ways of IT thinking. Consider the retailer's dressing/changing room. Under the guise of theft-prevention, many are now scanning every piece of clothing that a shopper brings into the room, along with the identification being beamed from that customer's mobile device. Instant CRM, with details of every purchase being considered by that mobile tied in with them by name, automatically captured.

That mobile device will typically be a customer's smartphone. But the next step is where where an interesting debate is emerging. When the shopper leaves that dressing room and chooses to purchase only one—or perhaps even none—of the garments/accessories, at least one chain is now experimenting using a different mobile device (tablet) to try and get an answer to "Why?" In marketing circles, understanding why a customer opted to not purchase six items can be even more valuable than knowing why they purchased the seventh.Read more...


How Much Is A Mobile Picture Worth? A Lot More Than You Might Think

November 20th, 2013
The cliché dictates that a picture is worth 1,000 words, but if it's a mobile picture from a customer/prospect and you're a CIO or CMO, it's worth a heck of a lot more. Several vendors, well aware of many mobile device owners' love of taking digital photos of anything and everything (including selfies, which to me have always suffered from a major lack of raison d'être), actively encouraging these shoots, hoping to lasso in a goldmine of data. The pitch to shoppers is simple: if you see anything you'd like to buy, take a picture of it and we'll quickly identify it, through software and crowdsourcing.

Whether or not those identifications will work or not—and whether there are much easier and more accurate ways for those products to be identified—is something I'll get to shortly. But the goal here is all data. First, the images are being shipped through a mobile app, so everything is being associated with a specific identified shopper. (Hello, CRM database.) Secondly, the images usually come with exact geolocation data (Seems that you took this picture in the housewares section of our direct rival on Elm Street. Good to know) plus date/time.Read more...

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