The recent boom in mobile marketing has brought success to businesses great and small, but a big part of this brave new world has been overcoming challenges regarding consumer privacy.
There can be little doubt that mobile-based advertising has generated exciting new avenues – and revenues – from customers to businesses. Data collection and geo-location technology have revolutionized targeted advertising, and forced companies to consider carefully the implications their actions have on ethical issues such as customer confidentiality.
To get the most out of apps and other mobile-based services, consumers must relinquish a degree of privacy. Some businesses require access to the GPS location of a smartphone in order to best serve their users. This necessarily places a much greater responsibility on businesses to provide transparency and honesty about the way they intend to use personal data.
Where text marketing is concerned, privacy is now governed by a new set of FCC rules, implemented on October 16, 2013. Customers must opt-in to receive communications from a company, thereby providing explicit consent in the form of a written, signed agreement. The obligations of companies offering text services include:
- A clear description of their text program (not a generic opt-in request)Providing the name of the sender
- Providing clear instructions for opting out
- An indication of the frequency of text messages
- An explanation of any additional carrier costs
The government has considered bringing in federal legislation to further protect data privacy for mobile users. Some progress has been made in local government, most notably Senator Al Franken’s endorsement of the Location Privacy Protection Act in 2011. The Senate has already given the go-ahead, but Congress is yet to deal with the issue. If passed, the bill would require companies to obtain explicit consent before collecting or sharing data.
Right now, the onus of data privacy falls on companies themselves, so it’s imperative that consumers choose wisely the brands they do business with. Any firm that uses text message marketing can look at the current situation as an opportunity to provide strong, personal customer relationships that are based on trust. Achieve this, and you will have developed brand loyalty long before any federal legislation is imposed.