The recent exposure of PRISM-a national security electronic surveillance program that enables the NSA to collect data directly from prominent U.S.-based online companies-certainly has caused uproar. Public opinion on the matter is polarizing. Some feel the NSA is too Big Brother for comfort, while others want the government to keep a watchful eye on civilians and foreigners to thwart terrorist attacks.
In today's digital age, the government isn't the only organization facing the privacy dilemma. Marketers must also walk a thin line in regard to consumer privacy, even when attempting to better serve and communicate with their customers.
Nowhere is this truer than with mobile. Some marketers, concerned with not overstepping their bounds, are avoiding great technological innovations-such as location-based technology, targeting, and other related services in their mobile apps and offerings-in order to avoid accusations of wrongdoing-such as cyber stalking-or privacy abuse.
To a certain degree, methods used for data collection and utilization should be a concern, especially in regard to communications with minors. However, where adults are concerned, marketers not practicing personalized, location-based mobile engagement are missing a huge opportunity. To help them make the most of mobile marketing, here are three essential best practices for utilizing geolocation technology:
Use Opt-In Mobile Marketing: Allow people to opt-in for your mobile marketing messages, and you'll communicate with them in a way they prefer. According to a 2013 Millward Brown Digital survey, 87 percent of global respondents believe they should have the option to opt-in before a company contacts them, while 80 percent would share location data with brands in order to receive SMS or push messages they have opted-in to receive. The findings prove that consumers want to participate in permission-based mobile marketing; thus, it's in marketers' best interest to adhere to this industry regulation.
Practice Transparency: The onus is on marketers to maintain a transparent two-way dialogue. There are many scenarios where people want to hear from brands, but in these instances, marketers must inform people exactly about what types of messages they'll receive and how their data will be used.
On mobile, more people than you might think are willing to communicate with marketers and share their data. The Millward Brown Digital survey found 58 percent of global respondents say they would send a text message to a company to request more information, and 54 percent of global respondents say they would send a text message to a company to enter a competition.
When asked why they would share location data with a company:
- 47 percent would do so in order to receive relevant offers or discount coupons
- 45 percent would do so in order to receive information they have requested
- 36 percent would do so in order to help them solve customer service issues
- 24 percent would do so in order to check-in or post on social networking sites
Engage People with Geo-Targeted SMS and Push Campaigns: In today's landscape, marketers must engage consumers. The good news is that SMS and push messages offer them a way to do just that in a format consumers welcome. According to Millward Brown Digital, 59 percent of global respondents prefer SMS and push campaigns over other forms of mobile marketing, including video advertising, banner or standard display ads, and email. The study also found 75 percent of global respondents are likely to read or engage with SMS and push marketing messages, such as location-triggered coupons, updates or deals relevant to the mobile apps downloaded.
Geo-location can transform a mobile marketing experience from run-of-the-mill to exceptional, as well as provide value for both the user and the business. And it can do so without cultivating an Orwellian experience. For marketers looking to get in on the action, follow the above best practices above and reap the rewards through engaging, people-friendly, and geo-targeted mobile marketing campaigns.