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Much Ado About Privacy?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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In our advertising and communications bubble, we talk about how important the line is between Big Data and consumer privacy. In our meeting rooms, coffee rooms, and client briefs, all of us want to make sure that we don't cross over the line and turn the consumer off to the messages that we're sending.

But is our industry making a big deal out of nothing?

At a recent IAB Mobile Engage conference, Dan Evans of the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) stated that the consumer only cares about privacy when we (AdLand) use it wrong. In fact, his exact words were that "consumers are not interested in privacy."

We would agree.

It is true that many "consumer advocacy" groups make a lot of noise for issues they do not quite understand, but we too see that the majority of consumers are not too worried about privacy to the point of changing their shopping habits. 

"Habits" being the key word.

Because that is where it ultimately boils down to; if a consumer is set on acting a certain way with a brand, we would have to really do something against the grain to force them out of their routine. Though we do think we could force that change if we use data and privacy wrong, we do believe that the consumer's resistance to change may be stronger than we think.

So when thinking of tracking our consumers' behavior in order to make decisions on marketing and advertising, let's not focus on the fact that consumers are worried about privacy. No, let's consider getting the information and the activity right, and the consumer will have no reason to worry about privacy or data.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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