Why Are the World's Greatest Communicators so Silent?
By Ken Magill
One of the great ironies of the privacy movement is that the industry in the anti-advertising zealots’ crosshairs contains the best minds in the world at getting messages out to consumers.
Yet, out of them we get barely a peep on this issue.
The media certainly is part of the problem.
Hardly a privacy article is written that doesn’t include a quote from either the Center for Digital Democracy’s Jeff Chester or the World Privacy Forum’s Pam Dixon and often quotes from each.
But Chester and Dixon’s outfits are neither centers nor forums. Combined, they probably have a grand-total membership of two: themselves.
Yet, their buffoonish opinions are given vastly greater weight in the consumer media than the voices of companies and organizations representing millions of people employed as a direct result of the marketing practices they’d like to see crushed.
As we’ve seen repeatedly, marketing will not get a fair shake in the consumer press. As a result, marketers must bypass the media and get their message out themselves.
It’s not that no one is trying. It’s that those who are trying have too big a battle on their hands.
Linda Woolley, acting president of the Direct Marketing Association, sent a letter to the editor that was published in the New York Times last week responding to a distorted hack job reporter Natasha Singer recently did on Acxiom.
The letter was fine in and of itself. It was the proper response from a trade association to a news report attacking one of its largest members.
But the DMA can’t pull this off alone. It’s up to each and every one of us to make the case for data-driven marketing’s benefits to society whenever and wherever we can.
Marketers should flood disgraces like Singer’s piece on Acxiom with a barrage of comments explaining just how potentially damaging the privacy movement’s wish list is.
And Woolley shouldn’t be the only one writing letters to the editor.
Also, marketers have their own platforms they can use to explain the benefits of their craft to consumers.
It’s not like the benefits of data-driven marketing are too obscure to be easily explained.
Five years ago, my wife and I moved from an apartment in Manhattan to a house in the country. As we began to accumulate our two dogs, four cats and dozens of chickens, our direct mail offers shifted seemingly overnight to match our new lifestyle.
My wife now subscribes to Grit and Backyard Poultry as a result of direct mail pitching her on publications she previously didn’t know existed.
Think of the paper, print and postage that weren’t wasted, all because of the data-driven marketing placed against my wife’s new profile. Now extrapolate that limited waste to millions upon millions of consumers and think of the vast resources that are not misspent due to a lack of information.
That’s how consumers should be thinking of data-driven marketing and it’s up to each of us to try and make that happen.