Is Advertising An Invasion of Privacy?

Do You Feel Stalked By Adverts?

Last week,  at 11:33pm, a client emailed me via 123 Reg Webmail to ask if I was available to work in Manchester for a week. The next morning I awoke to a Hotmail from Trivago, subject line, ‘Heading to Manchester?’

What happened to privacy?

If Customers Want It, They’ll Buy It, If They Don’t, They Won’t

Yesterday we browsed around a few shops, the aim of the day was pleasure as opposed to achieving the items on our vague list. We wandered in and out of several shops, picked up a few things, had coffee and cake. Now imagine if we arrived home to find we had been followed by every business owner. There they are on our drive, stuffing their flyers into our hands and through our letterbox.

At this juncture I refer to Jac Rayner’s Tweet:

“Dear Amazon, I bought a toilet seat because I needed one. Necessity, not desire. I do not collect them. I am not a toilet seat addict. No matter how temptingly you email me, I’m not going to think, oh go on then, just one more toilet seat, I’ll treat myself.”

I know, I know, this is normal now, advertising got cleverer, businesses got much smarter…OR DID THEY? I created a quick poll asking how people felt about this kind of advertising…‘Does this stalking/advertising work for you or does it annoy you?’

The results: 

  • 90 respondents said this advertising annoyed them
  • 5 Respondents (two of whom were married to each other) said it worked for them

So 95% of people surveyed are annoyed by this advertising, are they likely to buy?

The 5% who said ‘It works for me’ included people who do this for their clients for a living.

(94.7 rounded to 95, 5.2 rounded to 5)

An Invasion of Privacy

It might be normal now, but it does not make it right. It also doesn’t make it effective. Do businesses seriously believe that showing me they are snooping (yes, snooping) into MY private emails, then trying to shove their products/services into my face will make me choose them? It might work with a few people (maybe around 5%), but I can tell you, the majority of people find it annoying, and an invasion of their privacy. Would we allow these businesses to come and open our post? No! Why do we allow them access to our private email?

A few of the comments from the respondents to my survey:

  • “I hate it”
  • “I especially find it offensive when it comes from email, as I do find that a complete invasion of privacy.”
  • “Last year I had a miscarriage and for the following 5 months, was constantly shown baby/maternity ads.”

ENOUGH! What happened to being ethical?

A More Sustainable Solution

  • Begin with a great quality product or service that is needed/wanted
  • Create a well-written website that shows the world exactly what you offer
  • Optimise your website for search engines
  • Focus on being the best at what you do
  • Encourage customers to spread the word, nothing is more powerful than word-of-mouth

About Nicola Dunklin

Experienced and proficient content writer with a proven track record of success.
This entry was posted in marketing, Small Business Support and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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