Direct Line Blog

Mobile Marketing Association urges transparency in coupons

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The Mobile Marketing Association released its “Guidelines and Best Practices in Mobile Price Promotions” report for North America today, encouraging guidelines that are pretty common sense. Here's the boiled-down version: Be transparent.

Transparency's a big word buzzing around most digital marketing circles these days, but it's particularly apt when it comes to mobile coupons. Consumers get a little too giddy when it comes to deals. “You're giving me 75% off? Hey, you can take down my location information so long as you're taking down that price.” I'm embellishing, but speaking from personal experience, there have been plenty of times I've gotten so carried away with a deal that I offered up my email address like it was a ticket to watch the New Jersey Nets. “No, take it. Please.”

That level of abandon is great for marketers, but the flip side is that when I eventually came to my senses, instead of not offering up my information - therefore not getting my deal - I offered up false information, e.g. the dummy email account I've written about too many times now. Scale that out, and you get a lot of marketers spending a lot of time sifting through a lot of data that's a lot of malarkey.

So flip things again and offer up what information you're collecting from me and how you're going to be using it, and we can talk honestly. I get really sketched out when I download an app from the Android Market and see all the information that the developer wiIl have access to, but more often than not I still download the app. Matter of fact, now I get more sketched out when I download an app from Apple's App Store because I'm not as obviously prompted with that information.

In this sense, it's a non-zero-sum game of poker between marketers and consumers: We both want the other's chips, and we don't mind giving up ours to certain extents, but neither of us gets anything until one of us shows our cards. I can take my cards to another table (read: your competitor's), but that means I'm also taking my chips.

Again this is all pretty common sense, but it's worth repeating.
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