Anti-Valentine’s Day

07 October, 2014 by Admin | Digital MarketingPrivacy

Personally I think you are missing the point if you do something romantic for your ‘valentine’ on this day; I find planning romantic love on a specific date not so romantic. I just can’t do something from the heart on schedule. But I have respect for people who can. The token of love is also obviously driven by marketing efforts to sell cards, flowers and other ‘romantic’ gifts. And since it is so obvious, I refuse to do anything for my love on this day out of principle. Expectations are the source of disappointment. Better to do something spontaneous when there are no expectations at all. And that is also much more romantic in my view. That is why I do like Singles’ Day as a sort of anti-Valentine’s Day. It makes you feel good as a single and the marketing takes away the guilt of just buying something for yourself that you really want but don’t actually need. And there is no expectation-gap because you buy something for you. You can’t go wrong here. And you have to admire the way that the Alibaba marketeers have taken over and blown this day up to gigantic proportions. Last Singles’ Day their sales in a single day was 9.3 billion dollars. Yes, 9 with 9 zeros. Real dollars. And that in a special way brings me to the topic of effective online-marketing, -sales, -dating, getting intimate, privacy and security

Privacy is a feeling

A marketeer should understand that privacy is not about compliance with data protection laws, it is about the user experience. Privacy is a feeling. You need to avoid the creepy feeling of being tracked and followed too close for comfort.

Think of the infamous example where the retailer Target had figured out whether you have a baby on the way long before you need to start buying diapers based on historical buying data. So Target started sending coupons for baby items to customers according to their pregnancy scores. What Target discovered fairly quickly is that it creeped people out.

On the other hand, if you want to get personal you have to get it right. To get it right you need rich data and customer intimacy. That is the Privacy Paradox in marketing: you have to deeply understand the desires and needs of your consumer and act upon it, without being creepy. However, if the information is only shallow and you get it wrong, that is when the consumer will also feel his privacy is invaded. 

For example, retargeting is mostly done in such a bad way that it becomes irritant, the customer feels his privacy is invaded. When it is not accurate, it feels like being in a touristy bazaar, where you decided not to buy the water pipe but the persistent sales guy keeps following you very closely, talking in your face: “Want to buy a water pipe? Special price for you!”  Or think of the example where the customer who bought a lot of meat got targeted for ham and pork chops. They failed to notice that all the meat he bought previously was halal.

When the customer feels his privacy is invaded, it is a bad experience and he will not buy from you. What you want is customer intimacy and for that you need a relationship of trust.

Why every marketeer should understand the golden rules of online dating

Effective marketing means getting intimate with the customer based on an equal relationship of mutual trust. We can learn from the three golden rules of successful internet dating. It's basically the same challenge: how to get intimate with a person you connected with on the internet.


  • Take me someplace nice

Like on the first date, it is important that you take the customer to a nice place. This means the look and feel and user experience inspires trust. A clogged, chaotic and loud environment where navigation is difficult is not a place where you would leave behind your most personal data. A transparent and intuitive environment inspires trust.

  • Relationship accounting

When you ask for intimacy, it has to be 2-way traffic. On the first date you can’t have one person doing all the talking. It must be obvious to the customer why you need the data and there has to be a clear tradeoff. If the purpose and the value the user gets from leaving behind personal data is clear, he is more likely to share. Why do people tell Google what they are looking for every time they go online? Because Google tells them where to find it.

  • Let's not rush this

To try to go all the way on the first date is, most of the time, not a successful strategy.  Take your time and build the relation. You will get to know each other by spending more time together.

Want to date me?

So I think a good marketeer is a privacy expert. Or at least he should be. Because privacy is a feeling. And if you come up with tracking and profiling technologies that feel like big brother is watching you, that is just the wrong approach and it will not work. With a good online marketing strategy that takes privacy into the design as a principle, a principle that helps you to get intimate with the customer without invading their privacy, compliance is most likely the outcome.

And once you have built this relationship of trust, you are intimate with the customer, you know all about their habits, wants, needs, whereabouts, desires, secrets, relationships, wealth, health, etc. you now have a grave responsibility. Because privacy cannot exist without security, it’s the flipside of the same coin. If you have built this relationship of trust and you are the custodian off all this rich information, when this data is stolen or otherwise compromised, you have a problem. A big one.

So that is why every marketeer in the digital age should be a security & privacy expert. Are you a marketeer and want to learn more about security & privacy? I will be delighted to tell you all there is to know about trust in a digital world.

Contact me and we have a date.

And please take me some place nice.