Mobile Marketing And Consumer Privacy

Over the last 10 years, mobile marketing has become immensely popular in North America, Europe and many parts of Asia. Many big companies have launched massive marketing campaigns through SMS, MMS and Bluetooth. Mid cap and small businesses also use this type of wireless communication as a preferred marketing mode. However, with this extreme popularity of mobile marketing among business owners, the consumers of cell phone from across the world have raised privacy violation concerns. Let us discuss these privacy concerns in detail and the steps taken by government and other regulating bodies to tackle this issue.

Mobile marketing is considered an intrusive practice by many cell phone users. Most are concerned about the method of collection, storage, usage and disclosure of their personal information by cell phone companies and businesses without their permission. The capability of utilizing location and personal information to create personalized and customized promotional (advertising) messages enables businesses to assemble user profiles with detailed personal information. Any vulnerability in their database can lead to data leakage. It is imperative that the lawmakers, cell phone companies as well as businesses using mobile marketing address these privacy issues to keep the consumers interested in this mode of marketing for long.

Privacy laws from nations across the world deal with usage/ storage and distribution of personal and financial information of the citizens. In USA, there are clear laws laid to guide businesses on information and data security for different industries. For example the GLBA act for financial services, Consumer Credit Reporting Forum Act for credit grading industry etc. Many subsection of these laws deal with privacy issues around marketing as well. However, the law makers are finding it difficult to keep up the pace with the fast changing technologies used for marketing in the current times. Moreover, the implementation of these regulations can be called loose at the best. Businesses also find out loop holes in the system and regulation to their advantage and the ultimate sufferers are the users.

Many mobile marketing forums have attempted to address this privacy issue with code of conducts for their registered members. For example, the Mobile Marketing Association has laid down clear code of conduct for its members that guide them to be responsible while leveraging mobile and wireless channels for marketing their products and services.

These codes take in consideration the local privacy laws pertaining to various nations and regions as well as best practices by businesses and industries from across the world. These codes are designed to take into account the interests of both consumers as well as businesses to ensure mutual benefits. The basic issues of customer consent, information customization, responsible constrain, data security and enforcement and accountability are the focal points of these codes of conduct.

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