Marketers Caroling to CCPA: ‘Winter Wonderland’

Marketers caroling may not be what immediately comes to mind to get you in the holiday spirit, but here’s a little ditty about how useful data is to marketers. Sing it along to the melody of “Winter Wonderland.”

To all my many friends who are marketers in the field — the California Privacy Protection Act, new data privacy laws in Maine and Nevada, and who’s next? — this, too, we will endure. All the same, we shall all find new paths to prosper in the New Year, and the consumer will be better for it.

And yes, we should all be looking — shouting from the rooftops — for a single standard law from Congress sooner than later. Americans deserve better!

Is this working for you? I accept, I accept, I accept, I accept, I accept, I accept. Opt-out. Opt-Out. Opt-Out. Opt-Out, infinitum. In your face on every site you visit, and on every app you use?  I want to control data flows about me — not with a browser, not with a default that fails the financing of relevant content — but this is too much. Better for all to have acceptable uses discerned from unacceptable ones — defined by benefits and harms, respectively — legislate THAT, and let innovations flow.

So please join me in my sing-along:

“There’s a tale, are you listening?
Data flails, for the christening.
A new law in sight.
About to take flight,
Drownin’ in a regulated land.

Gone away is the long tail …
Within the walls, a new prevail.
Competition, insights,
Strategies in plight,
Drownin’ in a regulated land.

On the home page we can place an opt-out
Make it clear that data’s not for sale

Another referendum will get plopped out
‘I accept’ and the Internet will fail.

Innovation, on a vacay…
As a patchwork, takes a mainstay
Know better than us
Who can we trust?
Drownin’ in a regulated land

In the filings we can set it all right
Consumer trust is all that we care
They’ll say, ‘are you kidding, you get no rights
Except for private actions in the air.’

And so we toil, we perspire
As the relevance gets retired
They say privacy!
We know it’s not free,
Drownin’ in a regulated land.

[And the big ending…]

Did you say $55 billion?

[Oh, yes] Drownin’ in a regulated land.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

What if Businesses Didn’t Issue Holiday Wishes?

For the last two weeks before Christmas, 2015, my in-box was filled with holiday greetings. You know the kind I mean: Innocuous messages from any company you’ve ever done business with in the last several years.

GrinchFor the last two weeks before Christmas, 2015, my in-box was filled with holiday wishes and greetings. You know the kind I mean: Innocuous messages from any company you’ve ever done business with in the last several years.

When the first few arrived, I had my consumer hat on, and opened them looking for my percent off coupon. I must admit, I was a little disappointed that the message was no more than “Happy Holidays” or “Thank you from your friends at ABC Company.” But by the time the 10th one had started to clog up my in-box, I started pondering the purpose of these massive missives.

If I didn’t receive one from a company, would I even have noticed? Would I think they didn’t appreciate my business anymore? Would I consider switching and head right off to their competition?

Each message was politically correct, of course. No “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hannukkah” or “Joyful Kwanzaa!” in the bunch (although a few included all three!). No. For the most part it was just a simple “Happy Holidays.”

I got these messages from businesses I recognized — and many that I did not. Clearly I was added to their email list (perhaps as a prospect), but it seemed oddly out of place when the message was from my “friends at Unknown Company” — considering I didn’t have any friends at all in that organization (at least that I knew of).

Holiday cards were even worse.

I received at least four different cards that had no company name on the return address on the envelope, nor on the inside of the card itself. Just “Holiday Greetings from all of us to all of you” signed (yeah, right!) by five to 10 people. Truly, I have no idea who sent me these greetings … so, in my opinion, it was a waste of the paper they were printed on (let alone the cost of the stamp!).

This may sound like a huge “Bah humbug!” to you, but I wonder if I’m alone in my reaction?

If the communication was totally meaningless to me personally, and it forced me to spend even more time with my finger on the delete button, then what value did it add to our business relationship (or prospective relationship)?

A couple of companies that we have a very close relationship with sent lovely gifts of chocolate, fruit or cookies. These are always appreciated and is a nice way to celebrate the season with trusted partners. One company sent us much-appreciated wall calendars to mark the beginning of another year together.

To be truthful, our company sent gifts of delicious, homemade Italian cookies to clients and business partners from Bella Pizzelle — a wonderful small bakery run by one of our own employees and her mother. The thank you’s feel genuine, and always pour in from those who look forward to our annual gift.

But we don’t send them (or any other kind of holiday note) to anyone who might see an email or a card and say “Who are these people?” or, even worse, hit the delete key before reading.

Are you guilty of sending a bulk message to your customers? Did it buy you any goodwill? Would you be fearful of scrapping the whole idea entirely in 2016? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Oh, and Happy Holiday.