This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

June 8, 2013

Why you shouldn't collect personal information about your customers

If you have a business on the internet, you may be tempted to try to collect a lot of personal information about your customers. You probably have been told by well-meaning marketing people that if you know, for example, the hair color of the customers who use your dog-grooming products, you can sell more.

I'm sure that it's fascinating, to the right type of person, to determine what percentage of left-handed people who live close to major rivers like to buy doggy treats for their dachshunds. Step back. With all due respect to the marketing people who enthusiastically create charts and spreadsheets that are supposed to determine the mindset of people who are buying doggy treats, all you really are doing, for the most part, is wasting time and annoying your customers.

Consider that people hate to be poked and prodded. If collecting information about your customers has become more important than providing good products and services to your customers, you have made a mistake. Sure, if you're Amazon, it's good to set Cookies on your visitor's browsers, and greet them by name when they return. But you aren't Amazon, and it's just kind of creepy that you are feeling the need to collect information.

Let is go. Tell the marketing people to go measure the width of the sidewalks downtown if they feel that they must do that kind of stuff. You can pay them for it if you like. But keep them away from your customers. Anything that slows down the process of your customer actually buying something from you, just in order to collect information, is not only a waste of time and money, it's a good way to lose a customer.

All you have to do is to picture it in "the real world". When you walk into a business to buy doggy-treats, are you confronted by a log-in that requires a username and a password? Does a popup appear asking you to fill out a survey? Does a salesperson ask for your telephone number and email address? Does the whole store "slow down" while it sets cookies? Hopefully not. And if you went into a place like this just to buy doggy treats and were treating like this, would you return? Probably not.

Put your emphasis on providing an excellent product or service. And tell the marketing people who are measuring number of visits per person who live close to a major river (NOVPPWLCTOAMR) to go away. You have work to do.

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