A couple of days ago TechCrunch Europe revealed that legislators in Germany are mulling over banning Google Analytics from the world of beer and lederhosen. Apparently officials are concerned that website owners are collecting detailed statistics about the number, whereabouts and search behavior of their visitors (and much more). Ach du Lieber!
German officials are missing a couple of key points. First, Google Analytics is absolutely useless at collecting information on an individual level. Google Analytics data represents averages, not individual visitor stats. Since the individual user is not identifiable, data points are nameless and faceless. Second, if an individual is actually concerned about adding their nameless & faceless data to the massive heap of online information, then he or she can simply turn off their cookies. That’s it. It’s that simple.
Now, I can hear the worried whisper among demand generation software users. if German officials are concerned about nameless & faceless (and arguable harmless) Google Analytic stats, why wouldn’t they ban demand generation software that not only captures an individual’s footprint, but integrates it with an individual’s profile like name, title, and email address. Isn’t that even more invasive?
Absolutely, categorically NEIN (translation: NO)! That’s because demand generation systems are permission-based. Prospects knowingly trade some of their profile information for valuable thought leadership content, with the understanding that further communication will be solely based on their area of expressed interest, and limited to communication with the company in question. Their privacy is completely protected. The prospect gets tailored information that helps him stay in the control of the buying process, and the website owner gets some insight on the needs and interests of its potential customer base. It’s a win/ win situation.
And every demand generation system prominently features opt-out capability, putting the prospect in full control of who and when people can use his or her contact information.
So rest easy in the land of Sauerkraut. Business is all about relationships, and relationships require you to identify yourself. You hand out business cards, don’t you? Or should we ban those too?
Until next time – Axel