Friday, 9 May 2014

Tracking versus privacy

The well-known management guru Peter Drucker always said that the purpose of business is to create and keep a customer. To do this, marketers must know what consumers think, feel and do--so they can use marketing to influence customer behaviour. Marketers know that customers are using the Internet and mobile devices as they shop or browse. Not surprisingly, marketers are also using technology to influence customer behaviour and satisfy customers.

For instance, Virgin Atlantic is piloting the use of iBeacon (an Apple mobile technology) to track its passengers in Heathrow and provide assistance as needed (or even before). Passengers might receive special offers as they walk through a retail area, for instance, or their boarding pass might pop up as the approach the gate. Many other marketers are exploring the use of beacon technology to reach customers when and where behaviour can be influenced.

Technology to track how many people pass its doors and how many enter, where they walk in the store and how long they pause in front of a display, is increasingly on retailers' shopping lists.

For privacy reasons, however, many consumers want the ability to be notified of tracking and opt out of tracking. A number of tech firms that provide tracking capabilities are allowing opt-out capabilities. How can marketers find the proper balance of tracking and privacy?