There are always cross-currents in place that have serious implications for marketers who care about relationships with their customers, but there are a few in particular that need to be considered right now.
The first is the draft privacy legislation that came out on Tuesday for comments on data privacy. It provides some significant changes to data collection, notification and usage. The legislation was bi-partisan drafted, so it's likely to move forward in one form or another. Regardless, the implications are clear (no pun intended...): transparency, with respect to customer tracking, identification and ultimately the use of the associated data, is going to be required in a much more stringent fashion than it is today.
For brands and marketers the key is to be explicit with your customers (and prospects) about your intentions to use their information. Make sure your value proposition is balanced enough to make customers willing to opt-in and identify themselves when interacting with your brands and your content, channels, apps, etc. As simple as this might sound, it's not always as easy to implement a data acquisition effort in a coherent and integrated manner.
The second and broader cross-current relates to what is happening as marketers continue to embrace social media tactically, particularly as related to Facebook and Twitter, rather than strategically. There are countless brands, large and small, that have "acquired" more Facebook and Twitter followers than customers and prospects in their own addressable databases! While perhaps not surprising, this is a huge, huge mistake from our perspective. Simply put, who do you want to trust your customer database to?
Now is the time to revisit your customer marketing strategy, from data privacy and data collection to relationship building and most importantly, how you build those relationships, through what channels and ultimately, where those relationships reside. That's what we do...and we'd love to hear from you and start a dialogue.