Monday, February 23, 2015

Privacy Rumblings Part Two

Last week I shared some thoughts about privacy after the Anthem breach.  The next day I received the privacy notice from one of my banks.  These noticed often end up in the trash can unread; however consumers should take notice of exactly what they are "agreeing" too.

This includes: collecting and sharing information such as your social security number, income, account balances, transaction and payment history.  Furthermore, simply by doing business with these companies, consumers are granted zero say about the information the company can share both inside and outside of the organization. Even worse, they include a sneaky opt-out clauses like the one above, which reads "if you are a new customer, we can begin sharing your information 30 days from the date we sent this notice.  When you are no longer a customer, we continue to share your information as described in this notice."

Although these notices may look like nothing, they're designed to self-authorize businesses to help themselves to sell your information without explicit warning or consent.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any other interesting marketing-related musings.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Making Privacy A Priority

I recently received an email from my employer that I might be one of the 80 million or so people who have had their private information, including name, date of birth, social security number, address, phone number, email address and employment information compromised by a cyber attack on the health insurance company Anthem.  Of course, this is enough valid personal information to open up just about any type of fake account and exploit the victim without being detected.    

An official notice of whether my personal information was actually stolen will follow in the coming weeks via mail, because, as we all just learned, the digital world just too risky for that information to be floating out there.  However, while I wait for the postman to deliver my fate, myself and anyone who has ever carried an Anthem insurance card can pretend to be reassured by consulting a website;

Perhaps the scariest part of all is that these massive breaches of cyber security are becoming ever more commonplace.  Whether it be Target, Home Depot, Apple, Sony or Anthem, a hazardous consumer privacy landscape appears to be part of the deal.  The question consumers will eventually find themselves asking is whether this trade-off ultimately benefits them.

Businesses will need to do more to convince them that it does.  Consumers will not blindly opt-in to "privacy" policies designed to obfuscate the rules and ultimately exploit their information while CEO's are routinely penning apology letters for fumbling it away to criminals.  Or equally disturbing, padding their bottom lines by selling information to their marketing partners.

Consumers and lawmakers won't buy the line that businesses are doing everything in their power to keep our information safe when they're actively tricking consumers about what they're signing up for and passing it around town to their friends.

One final thought on privacy.  Upon learning that my information could be vulnerable, I researched identity theft protection service from Lifelock.  I have heard personal stories about how the company supports its marketing position "Relentlessly Protecting Your Identity."

However, by offering a three-tier pricing structure, Lifelock is contradicting its own marketing position.  If its services improve proportionally to the cost the customer pays, then there are two groups of customers that they are not being "relentlessly" protected.  A flat rate would fix this dilemma between sales and marketing strategy. 

Finally, I believe the company and others like it are missing an opportunity in marketing itself.  Sold independently, Lifelock just feels like another thing consumers have to shell out for that they didn't in the past; therefore, its market is limited to those who already need it.  But this market could grow substantially if its bundled with insurance, thus expanding the market to those who might need it in the future.  Both companies would benefit; Lifelock could dramatically grow the industry pie while insurance companies would find a new slice in a slow growth industry.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any other interesting marketing-related musings.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Advertising Worth Sharing In The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

This upcoming Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue will feature a couple of advertisements that are just as easy on the eyes as its bikini-clad content.

The buzz worthy DirecTV campaign featuring Rob Lowe is remixed with Sports Illustrated models Hannah Davis, Chrissy Teigen and Nina Agdal and Snicker's "You're Not You When You're Hungry" takes over the back cover with a "super irritated Hannah Davis" as Medusa.  

Both efforts are great examples of how to weave a commercial message into content in a manner that's interesting and relevant to the topic.  Each ad truly enhances the content rather than distracting from it. And as a result, they made something worth sharing.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Breaking Down Which Budweiser Ad Is Better?

The Budweiser brand is synonymous with advertising during the big game, producing such memorable spots as the "Bud Bowl," "Wassup," the Budweiser "Frogs" and "Puppy Love."  This year the brand followed up on its viral hit from 2014 with another beloved spot staring a Labrador, "Lost Dog."

However, my love goes out to Bud's other spot, "Brewed The Hard Way."  The ad certainly won't win any awards for its special affects, heartfelt sentiment or plain ole' likeability, but it will definitely motivate the King's loyal subjects.

What the offended masses tweeting @Budweiser are misunderstanding is that this spot wasn't produced to put an end to craft beer or even get craft beer lovers to have a taste of their dad's beer but rather to rally those already drinking it.  That's exactly what this ad will do.

Budweiser simply cannot act like a craft brew.  It's not small batch, wild-flavors, different formulas, seasonal and in most corners of the world, local.  In order to survive, it must carve out a position where size is perceived to be to its advantage. "Brewed The Hard Way" is at the very least an unapologetic step in that direction. 

Even Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams and pioneer of the craft beer category recently discovered how fickle the craft-brew culture can be to show some love to one of the big boys.

So the best strategy is to not even give them a taste.

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic and any other interesting marketing-related musings