Tag Archives: CRM

It’s time for a Location Data Code of Conduct: Four Needed Policies

Article first published as It’s Time for a Location Data Code of Conduct: Four Needed Policies on Technorati.

Later this month the European Union’s “Article 29 Working Party” is likely to issue new rules requiring mobile and smartphone providers to treat location-based data as Personally Identifiable Information (PII). Last week, Apple, Google and others testified on the Hill regarding their use—or misuse—of consumer’s location data from smartphones.

minority-report-monitoring_280px-sqWhat is driving the speed and intensity of this regulatory response? A simple fact: location-based data links mineable information context about what you are doing, when and where, in a manner that is explicitly tied to your identity. This is a watershed threat to privacy we have not seen since the commercialization of the Internet (when we had to pay for Internet access).

Providers of smartphones and mobile applications need to realize and proactively manage this. If not, life could quickly become much harder for them. This would not just be bad for providers; if would curtail innovation enjoyed by consumers.

Now is the time for industry to get out in front and establish a Code of Conduct guiding use of location-based data (just as the Mobile Marketing Association did years ago for text messaging). Not only could this head off costly regulation; it could also set the standard for a trusted consumer experience, significantly expanding the location-based service market.

An effective Location-based Data Code of Conduct should include the following policies:

1. Enable users to turn location services on or off easily and transparently

Location-based tracking and promotion is great when people are gift shopping. However, sometimes it is simply an invasion of privacy. This applies equally to the enterprise, as companies don’t want their mission-critical staff to turn off corporate mobile phones to protect their private lives when they are out of the office. Smartphone and mobile app providers need to enable people to turn location-based services on or off. Those who make this easy and transparent will establish market leadership.

2 Manage location-based data with the same fidelity as billing data

Yes, mobile phones have tracked where you were (and when) for years. However, smartphones now combine this with data about what exactly you are doing—in a format that can be mined for targeted marketing, legal discovery, and more. Providers need to treat these data as sensitively as they do with billing data: asking for consent before collection or sharing, encrypting it, guarding it behind firewalls, and anonymizing it for marketing analysis. Those who fail to do this will lose customers and face lawsuits or worse.

3. Require mobile app providers to adhere to the code of conduct

Right now people are “up in arms” because a few very visible, publicly traded companies are keeping their location-based data. Imagine what this will become when hundreds of “fly by night” companies exploit location data for identity theft, targeted burglaries and more? Industry needs to create an App Store-agnostic, straightforward certification program for location-based app providers. This will create the same trust needed for location services growth that similar self-policing programs did for eCommerce and mobile marketing.

4. Let customers request anonymization of their location data

Consumers are already worried about their online data be stored forever in search engines. However, search engines can only crawl data actively posted. Location-data is collected passively; removing the conscious “should I post this” moment. As a result, consumers face a Hobson’s Choice on consumers: do I forgo location services or permanently lose privacy? Providers need to enable customers to request anonymization of all stored location data. This process can be balanced (e.g., linked to continued service use). However, it must exist.

Location-based services are enormously exciting and present an unimagined range of applications for commerce, logistics, medicine and more. A smart Location Data Code of Conduct will enable all of use to exploit this innovation safely, profitably and effectively.

Article first published as It’s Time for a Location Data Code of Conduct: Four Needed Policies on Technorati.

Using social to bring the ‘sizzling fajita’ to online sales

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A real-life recipe of mine.

Chris Brogan recently blogged, that “[t]here’s no sizzling fajita effect online,” that is, online commerce does not provide that visceral experience to causes others around you to buy the same thing on an impulse. He wondered if social media could be used as a proxy. It can. Here’s why—and more importantly—how…

Why? The endorsements of friends mean more

Granted, no one had built yet technology that lets you smell and hear what your friends are doing. However, social media—especially Facebook and Twitter—have come up with widely used ways to see what your friends share online. This is really important for commerce because of a particular fact: you are 9x more likely to buy, view or using something recommended by a friend than you are something recommended by a reviewer you do not know (even a professional reviewer). Seeing a friend Tweet, Like or Recommend something he or she just bought online is more likely to cause you to take a look than any advertisement. This is why social media, when used correct, can generate so much ROI.

How? Reward generosity with generosity

Social media brings new power to an old-fashioned value: generosity. It rewards those who are generous and penalizes those who are greedy. If you keep this in mind, you can design a really nice experience that encourages your customers to share the fact they bought your product with their friends:

Step 1: Make the buying experience a good one

If you want people to endorse their experience buying your product, make the experience a good one. If you don’t, not only will your customers not endorse you, the also will complain about you (e.g., “your name” followed by “#fail”).

Make the buying experience intuitive, fast, reliable and safe. Take a look at Apple, Amazon and Zappos for examples.

Step 2: Ask your customers (politely) to endorse you

When you customers are checking out, offer a box that asks them if would please share with their friends (on Twitter or Facebook) that they bought your product. Yes, actually ask, and, yes, use the word “please.” People are much more likely to be generous if you are polite to them; they are much more likely to help if you ask and indicate how much you will appreciate it.

Step 3: Offer to be generous back

"Wheat Thins is now following me on Twitter!"
“Wheat Thins is now following me on Twitter!”

If you are going ask your customers to be generous to you, you should offer the same. In addition to indicating how much their endorsement will mean to you, offer to do something for them. Ask your customers if they would like you to Mention them (in a Twitter or Facebook post) or Follow/Friend them in return for their endorsement. This achieves two things: 1) it rewards them and 2) it connects you to them to enabling all the benefits of Social CRM. This type of offer will likely attract those who use social media the most—in a way that they like.

Step 4: Make this really easy

Don’t complicate things by making people pick from a huge list of social media widgets, share their user name and password, etc. Let people ‘click’ if they want to “Login with Facebook” or “Login to Twitter” to endorse you. This usually takes one or two clicks at most and is familiar and proven. Yes, this ignores all those other networks. However, concentrating on Facebook and Twitter gives you 80+% of the social media benefit with <20% of the work and complexity.

Step 5: Don’t abuse this

If you got this far, you have won a loyal customer. Reward this loyalty with the occasional promotion that includes special discounts. Don’t reward it with spam or hard sells. If you don’t follow Step 5 you will regret it (your most social media vocal customers will let you know this).

Will this become the norm?

This is not hard to do from the technical perspective. It IS hard to get right from the social one. Many will try this. Over time, we will all learn from those who connect with customers really well. Eventually, this could become as commonplace as online ratings (one of the first forms of social media) – at least for those who create positive customer experiences.