Posts Tagged ‘Crystal DeGoede’


Custom Data and the Quest for Online Privacy

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Jets - Lauren and Cole Simon

Valerie Simon

Tomorrow, David Ring, EVP, business development, Universal Music Group; Gerard M. Stegmaier, attorney, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; and Howard Hogan, partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, will be holding a discussion at South by SouthWest. The question on everyone’s mind: Is the coexistence of data customization and privacy possible?

Custom data, created thanks to the availability of personal information online, creates opportunity for marketers and has the potential to offer users a better experience. Gathering data about users and even their online behaviors – as noted in this post from my BurrellesLuce colleague, Crystal deGoede,– results in increased knowledge about our customers and the potential to serve them better. But re-targeting also has the potential to be “creepy.” Increasing consumer privacy concerns are pushing legislators and the FTC to introduce new legislation that will offer web users more control of their personal data and empower the FTC to enforce voluntary privacy standards developed with Internet companies.

The fear of invasion of privacy is not new. Back in 2009, a White House Memoranda noted:

Potential benefits of web measurement and customization technologies are clear. With the help of such technologies, agencies will be able to allow users to customize their settings, avoid filling out duplicative information, and navigate websites more quickly and in a way that serves their interests and needs. These technologies will also allow agencies to see what is useful to the public and respond accordingly. Services to customers and users can be significantly improved as a result.

At the same time, OMB is acutely aware of, and sensitive to, the unique privacy questions raised by government uses of such technologies. Any such uses must not compromise or invade personal privacy. It is important to provide clear, firm, and unambiguous protection against any uses that would compromise or invade personal privacy.” (White House Memoranda: Guidance for Online Use of Web Measurement and Customization Technologies, June 2010.)

While the government certainly must have a unique sensitivity to privacy concerns, data customization practices in the corporate world are also subject to scrutiny.  

It is clear that transparency, and easy to understand disclosures regarding how personal data is being used online and in social media are essential. In fact, Facebook continues to sit in the spotlight because of privacy concerns and user-control issues. While Facebook’s privacy policy seems to be a step in the right direction, “until Facebook tells its 600 million members what it tells its major advertisers and marketing partners – on how to configure its system to generate data and other desired ad responses – it is failing to protect user privacy,” said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “We intend to push the FTC and Congress to force Facebook to come clean about its data privacy practices.”

With clear and simple language, I believe that a transparent and mutually beneficial relationship between marketers and users can exist. As a consumer, relevant messages and targeted advertising can be helpful and are certainly more welcome than advertisements for products and services that have no relevance to me and may even be offensive. My frequent postings about my children and the Jets, no doubt resulted in the advertisements for children’s Jets gear that populate my Facebook page, but as you can see from the accompanying picture, it was certainly of interest to me!

But what about other data that is being collected by deceptive methods? “Researchers at Carnegie-Mellon published a study concluding that many websites thwart users’ privacy settings by providing erroneous information to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer,” explains this Media Post article. Amazon.com is the latest company “allegedly circumventing the privacy settings of Internet Explorer users.”

What do you think? Is the coexistence of data customization and privacy possible? If the FTC is able to pass legislation to protect users privacy, how might this impact your public relations and marketing efforts?

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The Smartphone Craze…

Monday, January 17th, 2011

International Consumer Electronics Show 2011: Attendees view exhibits in Central HallAt the end of 2009, I heard that mobile was the future of communications. As the New Year rolls in, it is fast becoming clear that 2011 may just be the year for mobile campaigns. Last month, Mashable made 5 Predictions for Mobile in 2011. The Verizon iPhone prediction is about to come true already. This announcement has sparked several online polls, asking if smartphone users will make a switch. When I registered for the Digital Capital Week (DCWeek) this week, even they asked me what kind of smartphone I use.

In my personal life, I’ve been living the smartphone debate for quite awhile. I was a tried and true Palm user, but BurrellesLuce has a Blackberry server, so I made the switch. My husband loved his iPhone, but hated that he could not get service anytime we were in a crowd of more than 20 people; he recently switched to Blackberry. My sister recently switched to a Droid and loves her ability to access a lot of information easily. According to TechCrunch, the best of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was the Motorola Atrix smartphone.

Recently, my BurrellesLuce colleague Crystal deGoede blogged, You Are What You Use…What Does your Tech-Gadget Say About You?, which tries to categorize smartphone users based on survey results from the 2010 Gadget Census Report by Retrevo. Additionally, our Johna Burke listed her favorite Droid Apps in her post, Apps I LOVE for the DROID. BurrellesLuce even posted a newsletter on Using Mobile Apps to Connect with Your Audiences.

As mobile marketing and PR grows more in popularity, we’re also seeing more articles like Ragan’s 7 things you need to know about mobile communications. One of my favorite posts on the subject came from Mashable, who gave us 15+ Worthwhile Ways to Kill Some Time on Your Mobile. It reminds us we don’t need to play a game or read funny tweets to occupy the time waiting for the train or plane.

Are you going to make a smartphone switch in the near future? If so, what influences your decision? How does your smartphone help you be more productive? And what are some of the ways you’ll be looking to leverage mobile communications in your public relations initiatives this year?

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You Are What You Use…What Does Your Tech-Gadget Say About You?

Monday, November 15th, 2010

by Crystal deGoede*

We all live on planet earth and most of us own or use some sort of tech-gadget(s) that allows us to communicate and interact with each other and the world. It’s hard to believe we survived all those centuries without computers, cell phones, Internet, and social media. I can’t remember what I used to do “back in the day” when something comical happened and I wanted to share it with my friends…maybe we paged each other! 

Most of us are very familiar with the advertising and marketing campaigns used by HTC (Android), iPhone, Mac, PC, iPad, and BlackBerry. They are designed to connect with “you” on a personal level:

Do these campaigns actually affect our perception of what’s best when it comes to purchasing Gadgetsa gadget(s) or do we subconsciously choose based on other factors (e.g., trends, capabilities, ease of use, etc.)?

Retrevo, a consumer electronics review and shopping site, conducted an online survey of 7,500 Retrevo users across all genders, age demographics, and locations between March and July of this year. The Gadget Census Report shows that owners of iPhones, Androids, and BlackBerry’s exhibit different behaviors and characteristics based on which gadget(s) they use.  So I know what I am, but what are you?

If you’re like me, you probably own a Droid. You probably also do not have a landline in your home.  According to Retrevo, 31 percent of Droid owners do not have landlines, compared to iPhone (23 percent) and BlackBerry (23 percent) users. Retrevo did note that one reason for this is because Android owners tend to have more reliable coverage.

Is it true that once you go Mac you never go back? I would say so! If you have a Mac in your household, you are three times more likely to purchase an iPhone and six times more likely to purchase an iPad, according to the survey. 

iPhone Characteristics.
According to the census results, iPhone users act and think differently than Droid and BlackBerry users. They are also usually younger (especially when it comes to BlackBerry users) and have a tendency to adopt technology earlier, like watching TV online. On a surprising twist, iPhone users are not as “Genius Bar” as they might think they are. They are 23 percent more likely to rent a movie from Blockbuster (are they still around?) than their Droid peers, and 22 percent more likely than Droid owners to not know what brand of television they own.

Android Characteristics.
Retrevo reports that Droid users are more tech-savvy, usually owning techier gadgets than their iPhone and BlackBerry friends. They are less likely to own a GPS though. (But if your phone was running Google map software, there would be no need for a Garmin lying around taking up space.) The downfall to being so techy and brilliant, 25 percent of Android owners are more likely to not read books and 20 percent more likely to not care about recycling old gadgets.

BlackBerry Characteristics.
2002 called and they want their BlackBerry back… According to the Gadget census, BlackBerry owners/users are old fashion. In fact, a recent article in Trader Daily discussed BlackBerry losing its “stimulant addiction” for Wall Street, who is considered the early adopters of BlackBerry’s: FierceFinance pointed out this week that some of the major banks, whose employees traditionally dared to touch no cell-phone bearing anything other than a BlackBerry emblem, are beginning to move towards the fancy new options.” When it comes to keeping up with other forms of tech-gadgets, Retrevo found that BlackBerry users are more likely to have a CRT (tube) as their primary television and listen and get their music from terrestrial radio. However, they are 15 percent more likely to recycle old gadgets than Android users.

So based on the results from Retrevo, do you have the characteristics of the gadget(s) you own?  If you own an iPhone are you upset to find out you are not as unique as you might think? Androiders, is it true that you do not read books? And last but not least, BlackBerry users, are you really old school?  What factors played into you choosing your gadget(s)? Do the “you” campaigns play a factor into your decisions? I look forward to reading your thoughts along with the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.

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*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce

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Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

by Crystal deGoede*

There are a lot of us that follow people on Twitter whom we have never met or heard of just because everyone else is following them. “They” must have something good to say, right? We should trust them. Or we like a brand on Facebook just because they are giving away an iPad, or friend someone from high school merely to see their photos. Yet, we never even talked to them – then or now.  (I know people that have over 2,000 friends on Facebook…come on. That number might be ok for Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. because we are “networking” with peers and colleagues, but these Facebook accounts are mostly personal.)  

In reality, we all are just building our personal brand. In fact, regardless of the Are You Paying for Word-of-Mouth Marketing?network, these people may not really be our “friends” or even acknowledge our tweets but when we update our status or link to an interesting article, they are seeing it and vice versa.  Our own word-of-mouth marketing is taking place with every post, generating a buzz for ourselves, company, brand or clients.

Since the 1980s, when word-of-mouth marketing became the big craze, the continuing efforts of companies trying to create a buzz, by having people endorse their products, has increased. And with social media, it is easier than ever. All marketers know that the ability to generate word-of-mouth advertising is not something that can be purchased, or so they’ve been taught.

However, that may no longer be the case. Celebrities, along with other influencers are receiving compensation to tweet and blog, mentioning certain products to their millions of followers. Can you imagine getting paid $10,000 just to tweet?

Sponsored Tweets, a new Twitter advertising platform, connects advertisers with twitter users. Advertisers can create sponsored conversations on Twitter. Tweeters can earn money for spreading the word. Along with advertising on Twitter, the company also has a sister site Pay-Per-Post, which pays influencers to blog about certain products. Currently they have 400,000 participating bloggers and tweeters, and over 40,000 advertisers.

Besides paying people to tweet and generate a buzz around your brand, you can also gain followers or friends by simply buying them. One way to gain “fake,” “targeted” friends is Twitter1k, which offers several options for the quantity of followers. If you need Facebook friends/fans, well you can buy them too. (Interestingly enough, the use of such friending or advertising services could potentially get you banned from a given social network – though some claim that they are less likely to do so then their competitors - unless of course you are using a service affiliated with the network. Then it seems to be more “ok.” Go figure.)

Why are companies doing this? Well most of us trust a brand that has a higher number of followers, fans, and YouTube views. If a brand has this, many “friends” and most of those friends are speaking positively about them, then we assume they must be engaging or influencing.  We are also more likely to recommed the brands (personal or business) that have lots of friends and followers.  Those artificial friends that are doing your word-of-mouth advertising have real friends that trust them, and that allows your brand to reach different verticals without much effort. Therefore, for some marketers, the incentive to fallaciously drive-up those numbers is very attractive.

If you found out that a brand you trusted had paid for their followers or for praise from someone that doesn’t even use their products or service, how would you feel? Does the ability to buy friends or pay people to be brand ambassadors go against the etiquette for transparency in social media? How does that reflect on the brands and companies who legitimately build their following, slow and steady, over time? Would you ever consider purchasing friends and followers for your brand? Share your thoughts with BurrellesLuce and our authentic Fresh Idea readers. 

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*Bio: After graduating from East Carolina University with a Marketing degree in 2005, Crystal DeGoede moved to New Jersey. In her four years as a member of the BurrellesLuce marketing team and through her interaction with peers and clients she has learned what is important or what it takes to develop a career when you are just starting out. She is passionate about continuing to learn about the industry in which we serve and about her career path. By engaging readers on Fresh Ideas Crystal hopes to further develop her social media skills and inspire other “millennials” who are just out of college and/or working in the field of marketing and public relations. Twitter: @cldegoede LinkedIn: Crystal DeGoede Facebook: BurrellesLuce

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