A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Content Marketing and Security Concerns

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

We could just as easily call this post, If They Don’t Trust Anyone, How Will They Trust You?

As if it’s not bad enough that companies like Target are surrendering our personal data to hackers and thieves, and countless other companies are doing the same but not fessing up, there is also the specter of technology outpacing privacy protections.

Many people still aren’t used to their shopping behavior following them around the web – spend some time on Amazon looking at ladders and the next advertising-supported website you go to is going to show you ads for, you guessed it, ladders. Now, companies are developing mobile technologies that follow you (and your smart phone) around the store, offering deals and discounts based on your behavior and your location.

Even the lightbulbs may be watching you. Right now, this is being done in some locations for security and customer service. (A long line would be seen quickly and additional support staff sent to help.) But it’s not hard to imagine that data being collected and abused. (We read recently of a mall installing license plate-reading technology for safety and security, but it’s now being used by the state to generate thousands of tickets for overdue inspections and expired registrations.

What does this have to do with content marketing? Trust.

It’s not just eroding, it’s disappearing. And as more and more consumers become resigned to the loss of privacy and security, they will change their behavior. Gated content has to be much higher in quality before anyone will share their email address. Emailed promotions go ignored because who wants to take the time to figure out whether it’s legitimate or not? And so on down the line.

Protecting yourself from this isn’t easy – you’re fighting against a cultural shift – but you can make yourself less threatening. Here’s how:

  • Collect less information, especially early in the sales cycle
  • Follow best technology security practices if you’re doing transactional, ecommerce work
  • Invest in internal controls – not all hacking happens computer to computer. People leak data all the time accidentally.
  • Own up to your mistakes. Fix them fast.
  • Maintain a respectable digital presence. If you look like the equivalent of a boarded-up house with peeling paint and a collapsing roof, you’re in trouble from the start.

You can’t change people’s attitudes toward the state of digital security overall, but you can give them reason to trust you by being honest and conscientious and taking care of the data people expect you to safeguard for them.

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