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Can Loyalty influence the privacy debate?

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Can Loyalty influence the privacy debate?
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Peggy Noonan wrote a thought provoking article in the WSJ recently entitled “What we lose if we give up privacy”. When you consider the spectrum of means the government has to track the behaviors of its citizens, the arguments warning about marketers being “creepy” as they follow  customers around the web loses steam.

I was sitting next to Don Peppers during lunch at a marketing conference almost 2 years ago when he flatly stated that “the privacy debate is over”. He went on the explain that unless a person is a mountain man living off the grid, people can be tracked in detail through the normal course of commerce and living. He was sharing this as part of his talk on the subject of Trustability and I encourage you to read his book.

If you embrace the reality of the world we live in, you’ll see that complaining about loyalty programs tracking your behavior is missing the point. Interacting with a brand in context of a loyalty program creates a trusted relationship as long as that brand properly gives reward and recognition in return for the data it collects.

Loyalty marketers have an opportunity to take a leadership position in the privacy debate. If we continue to smartly evolve customer engagement strategies and provide customers real value while delivering ROI to clients, loyalty programs will increasingly be seen as “safe harbor” in a sometimes threatening world.

Pursuing Big Data strategies will backfire unless that data is properly safeguarded and used to bring value to customers.

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