Digital marketing has a branding problem. The tracking, data gathering, and information processing associated with it are mostly viewed as an invasion of consumers’ privacy. It’s not specific to digital marketing, either; look at the objections to Spotify’s privacy policy, which collects huge amounts of data from your phone, ostensibly so that Spotify can compete with Apple Music’s feature set.

Those objections may very well be justified, by the way. But nobody’s first thought was, “maybe what Spotify is doing is OK.” Everyone’s first thought was, what about privacy? Everybody’s first thought was, this is bad.

This is marketing’s fault! Users presume they’re up to no good, because often, marketing is up to no good.

So much digital marketing is terrible. Irrelevant offers, poor design, and intrusive experiences are everywhere. Companies that can re-position their digital marketing into a positive will have a huge advantage.


The more data you have, the more you can do. This is true in very simple terms - think about optimizing interactions on your site, for example, to drive more revenue. But you can also use it in so many other places, including product development, and more direct customer acquisition. As Bryan Kirschner points out, the Nike+ platform is a great example of this.

Through the Nike+ digital platform, tens of millions of people—both current and potential Nike customers—are volunteering billions of data points on where and when they exercise, how and why they exercise, and what they are trying to achieve.

Gold’s Gym is doing the same thing. With health data, no less!

If your company can’t (or won’t) gain consumers’ trust, the danger to you is that other companies will get that trust. And the result is that those companies will get to know your customers better than you do.