Online Advertising: The Truth Shall Set You Free!

Yes, it is true. While I don’t claim ministerial prowess or even great oration skills, I do knowThe More You Know a truth when I hear/read one – whether from the pulpit or the pdf. Delivering truth is the situation the digital advertising industry currently faces. How, you ask? If you haven’t noticed, there is an onslaught of negative press and backlash about what digital marketers are collecting regarding online behavior; personally identifiable information; how their creating target audiences and which companies are “going too far.”

One only need go to theĀ Wall Street Journal to read an article of carefully crafted and curiously self-omitting half truths about what the industry is about and why advertisers feel the need to gather information about online behavior. Many of the articles, interviews and generally accepted myths I’ve read and heard have been not only off base but close to fear-mongering. As an online advertising industry, of which automotive represents roughly 10%, we have done a poor job of getting ahead of the story with education and transparency. We all know what follows lack of understanding…fear.

One of my favorite organizations, the IAB, has done some good work putting together a document that proposes we self-regulate the industry and educate the constituents. It can be found on their website, under ‘Self Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising.’ There are 7 tenets (they call them principles) that we all on the data and customer facing sides of the industry should follow. They are:

  1. The Education Principle
  2. The Transparency Principle
  3. The Consumer Control Principle
  4. The Data Security Principle
  5. The Material Changes Principle
  6. The Sensitive Data Principle
  7. The Accountability Principle

To learn more about each, and see how they are proposed to be put in to practice please click on the above link to the document. The most important thing we can do to keep the internet a place where people can inexpensively exchange ideas, is to bring relevant advertising content. Without ad dollars, the internet will lose some of its egalitarianism, creativity, and public support so we must all do our part to make sure it continues to grow unfettered by complicated pay-for-content models.

I’m proposing each advertiser take a good look at what they can do to increase education in an effort to reduce fear. Once people learn about what is actually being done by reputable companies, they see much less need to worry and regulate a growing industry designed to bring the most relevant content to the eyes of web surfers. As long as you heard me I’m stepping off of my soapbox.

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Cleaning Out the Cobwebs

Life is funny. There are a multitude of universal truths that are relevant no matter what religion, faith, non-faith, philosophy, or lifestyle you lead. One thing that I’m learning is true, as I move into a new house, is that cleaning the space around you can effect you mentally. When was the last time you truly looked deep into the archives of your life and decided to clean everything up? When you did that, did it change the way you thought? Did you feel as though you were newly acquiring the old you? I know I have. I feel more connected to ME since my move, and I feel as though it has made me more creative and able to accept the good that I know is coming my way.

Since our businesses are entities, then we need to do the same for them that we do for ourselves. Think about getting out your old business plans, communications documents, balance sheets, income statements, and amortization schedules for your equipment. Throw out what is not necessary so that you have physical and energetic space to make room for the good that we have yet to consciously realize we thought of.

I am making a pact to myself, today, to clean out my mental and physical space once a quarter – as well as my business documents. Anybody out there want to make the pact with me? I hope so, because I remembered how much I don’t like being alone when I did my cleaning this past week. :D

Additionally, even if you don’t plan on a new “Big Idea” then you should still bi-annually take out all the unnecessary or weak words from your communications then hit the scene/business landscape again with a cleaned up and recent representation of the greatness that is your small business.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to leave me a message about the last time you cleaned stuff up in your life. I’m inspired right now; I hope you are too.

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