Chapell & Associates

Monday, October 17, 2005

Why do you need my address - I'm only buying a hammer?

I spoke with my dad earlier today... A few days ago, he decided that they needed a new work bench for the garage. So he and mom went down to their local Sears, and picked out a shiny new workbench. Sounds like a nice lil story, right?

Well... when they got to the checkout, the clerk asked them for their their home address and telephone number. "Why?" Apparently, the clerk had no idea. So my dad refused to provide his information, saying "I really have no interest in being contacted by Sears."

But the clerk politely pushed back, saying "the only thing I can tell you, sir, is that the computer won't process your order unless I have that information."

So my dad reluctantly provided his home address and telephone number, and was able to take home his new toy...

I realize that many of you have heard this story before. This type of data collection was originally popularized by Radio Shack, and has been a theme in countless stories over the past few years.

But that's really my point - given all the evidence that customers often don't want to provide their personal information at the check-out line, why in the world is Sears still collecting it? I don't even take issue with their collecting the information per se - but WHY is it mandatory? How many long-time Sears customers won't come back after that kind of experience? Where is consumer choice? Where is the employee privacy training?

A few years ago, Sears launched their CRM program. I'd like to see them incorporate a privacy component into that program...

On a positive note - at least my mom now has an idea of what I do for a living... (:
posted by Anonymous on Monday, October 17, 2005 | |

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

New Tracking Technology Measures Video-on-Demand Ads

Adage - September 30, 2005
It's the Holy Grail of accountability, and for video on demand, it's right around the corner. Marketers just moved a step closer to knowing who's actually watching their ads, thanks to a beta test by Rentrak, which now has a product to measure commercials watched as part of the cable industry's free video-on-demand service. "The advertising industry is eager to be able to separate measurement of [individual shows] vs. measurement of the ads," said Cathy Hetzel, Rentrak's senior VP, On Demand Essentials, which tracks program viewing. The Portland, Ore., firm tracks media transactions in all manner of businesses, from home video rentals to the box office.

The Chapell View
Apologies in advance for using a tired old Internet term from the late 90's, but Accountability is the Holy Grail for any advertiser. Accountability is the term used by every CMO when they talk about online advertising - and with good reason.

So its no surprise that the Cable Television industry is looking to better understand who is watching their ads, and to targets ads based upon the person viewing them.

What's interesting is that few (if any) of the cable guys seem to pay much attention to the lessons learned by the online targeting and measurement world. How much information should the cable guys obtain from viewers? Should PII be part of the equation - do advertisers need to know exactly who the viewer is in order for this to work? How long should profiles be stored and used for targeting and measurement? How much of these processes should be communicated to the cable viewers? How much data needs to be transferred to third parties in order to facilitate such data sharing?

Somebody over there had better be thinking about these issues...
posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 | |

Bank ID-theft charges rankle privacy groups

MSNBC - October 9, 2005
Collectively, identity theft costs Oregonians $5 billion annually. Individually, it could cost them between $9.99 and $15 a month in bank fees to protect their financial information. Lenders offering the fee-based identity theft services say the safeguards help victims navigate several layers that only tangentially relate to their bank. It's thus necessary to charge administrative fees, the lenders say. Advocates say the practice plays on consumer fears while offering extras that should come standard with normal bank accounts.

The Chapell View
I agree with the advocates on this one. Financial institutions play a significant role in the data trafficking industry in the U.S. So its extremely disingenuous for banks to charge customers to solve the very problem that they helped to create.

posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 | |

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Adage - October 4, 2005
The good buzz on the nascent business of word-of-mouth marketing holds that it offers a low-cost, highly effective way to drum up positive chatter around a brand. The bad is that some of its more insidious practices could lead marketers to run afoul of longstanding advertising law. As marketers more frequently look to recruit consumers brand agents to spread goodwill for brands, industry attorneys view buzz marketing as a likely area of regulatory involvement, especially around the issue of compensating people to participate in buzz programs when they fail to disclose their connections to marketers and agencies. While there is no legal precedent specific to word-of-mouth marketing, there are Federal Trade Commission guidelines for ads that are likely to apply.

The Chapell View
Every since I started looking at word of mouth marketing back in early 2004, I had some real concerns. Frankly, I was (and continue to be) less worried about the legality around disclosures than I am about the overuse of WOM. Marketing is sometimes ruled by a mob mentality - where new ideas are quickly exhausted by sheer overuse. And before you know it, we've soiled our own food dish...Too many other online marketing channels have been significantly impaired by a lack of agreed upon principles.

I give credit to Pete Blackshaw and other leaders in this space - for recognizing that WOM could easily implode if left without some sound industry best practices. To that end, I know they've setup a trade association (the Word of Mouth Marketing Association) and established their own set of guidlines.
posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, October 04, 2005 | |

© 2005 by Alan Chapell & Associates LLC