If you’re a small business owner, you may think that the recent introduction of the Obama Administration’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights doesn’t apply to you or your venture. But the truth is that it does. And understanding how it could impact your business is of the utmost importance.
Will You Be Limited?
The first question to ask is whether or not the Bill of Rights will limit your business. After all, it does put the power back into the hands of the consumer where advertising is concerned. Add to that the many major companies which have agreed to comply with Do Not Track rules, and you may think that one of the most important aspects of any business is all but finished. But it’s important to consider that the Bill of Rights also exists to prevent further damage from being inflicted on consumers from cybercriminal activity such as spamming and identity theft.
The Basics of Business
Every business must already adhere to state consumer protections laws. If you are a business owner who is aware of these laws in their state, then you are probably also a business owner who ensures their advertising and pricing aren’t deceptive.
This set of consumer privacy laws, then, should not represent much of a learning curve as far as how you care for the information your customers provide you with. If anything, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights should assist you with how to respect your customers’ privacy, something that will be of interest to you if your understand how important customers are to a business.
If you market your business via services such as Facebook and Twitter, you will likely not be in total control of how your customers’ data is used. This is because both companies and many others like them collect user data for their own marketing purposes. As you may remember, this was big news just a few months ago, and resulted in a complete overhaul of how at least Facebook collects data and to what degree. And some of these major social media companies have already come under fire for supplying their users with mobile apps that obtain information from a user’s address book without that user’s knowledge.
What’s The Future Of Customer Data Collection?
Collection of customer data has been a staple of the business world for decades. From the days when a shopkeeper would write down a customer’s phone number and address, data collection provides business owners with a way to communicate new offerings, celebrate business milestones, and grow their customer base.
The question is hard to answer at this point, given that this new blueprint for consumer privacy has been so recently announced. And it may seem as though businesses are running out of ways to reach their customers, while those customers wish to give up less of their information than ever before.
A Change in Perspective
Perhaps it was the proliferation and of all of these digital mining methods which has caused consumers to be wary of the information they give. Cybercriminal activity in recent years certainly hasn’t helped. Computers are being compromised and data is being harvested from them without the owner’s knowledge. Recent WikiLeaks incidents have seen the data of millions of people being obtained and then posted online for the world to see. And hacker groups are compromising the security of sites that were thought impossible to breach.
Understanding why consumers may be wary could be the first step to changing how you market your business. Instead of using data mining methods to find out what your customers are doing, it could be left up to them in the form of those old ‘tell a friend’ scripts on your web site.
Another potential solution could be the offering of free knowledge about your business for customers to download. Instead of requiring their name and address prior to giving them access, this request could be placed inside your free offerings so that they can give up their information when they feel comfortable enough with your business to supply it.
Guest author Shana Fields enjoys keeping upon on technology and marketing trends, particularly in the online arena. Check out what she has assembled pertaining to wireless internet.