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BLOGViewpoint: Feedback on a “bad” post

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Blogging, Make It Happen Tipsheet, TrustTagged as: , , ,

It’s amazing how a “different” perspective-type post generates a ton of feedback.   Two years ago I wrote a post on how to become invisible on the web.  The post described how to remove your footprint, guard your privacy, and generally how to avoid being digitally targeted.

The post also generated a firestorm of comments – here are a few:

  1. “I thought your blog was about how to use digital in business, not hide from it.”
  2. “What am I missing?”
  3. “Why tell our customers about these links?”
  4. “You’ve pulled the pin and handed the grenade to our market!”

So in reverse order, my responses:

4) I don’t really think I’ve pulled the pin on the grenade: I would say I have shone a light into a murky and difficult area, and have challenged those who use the digital channel to smarten up.  My call to action was relatively clear: This week, look at how your organization uses data, and decide whether you are being transparent enough with your users.  An organization thrives when there is trust, and lack of transparency is the grenade that blows it up.

3) Why tell our customers about these links?  Am I really telling them something that they didn’t already know? If they didn’t know about them already, they can find out easily enough.  Separately, my blog is more focused on organizations, not individuals, so where is the terrible downside  in sharing the information?  There isn’t.

2) What am I missing?  Perhaps two things:

  • This post is a wake-up call for marketers – there is a definite counter-trend against the social networks and towards privacy. The law has recognized it, and so have the media.  Social media venues have as well: that’s why they all now provide delete me links.  (Although I wouldn’t trust that they have removed all vestiges of your data from their databases.)
  • If a particular prospect resents creepy data mining techniques or presumptive marketing, then it will definitely impact their relationship with you  – and in their eyes, your brand.  So why not acknowledge this particular segment, help the prospect do what they want to do anyway, and earn their trust along the way?  The question shouldn’t be What am I missing, but rather How do I market to the web-invisible segment?

1) I thought your blog was about how to use digital in business.  See above.  But let me also share why, after over a decade writing the Tipsheet each week, I continue to write it.  Yes, it helps generate awareness, and I suppose that it does bring in business.  But writing the blog helps me explore many of these issues in greater depth, so when asked, the thinking has already been done.  And it helps position me as an independent and objective expert.

This blog is really about rethinking strategy and tactics at the intersection of  marketing and technology.  And each of my posts looks at specific aspects of this – and how to translate that knowledge into action.


What goals are you trying to accomplish with your blog?  The goals should be both for the blog as a whole, as well as an individual post.  This week, spend time reviewing your blog to see whether in fact what you write is keyed to these two goals.

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