Individualized Targeting And Consumers’ Privacy Concerns Essay Example For College

Advancements in digital technologies and data collection allow marketers to implement individualized targeting (IT), which presupposes that current or prospective consumers receive personalized advertisements based on their preferences. IT is beneficial: marketers identify target audiences while customers receive relevant recommendations. Nonetheless, the application of this strategy involves personal data use, potentially interfering with consumer privacy. IT should be justified and transparent for increased benefits, while consumers’ information should be consciously provided and protected to avoid data breaches that conceivably harm customers.

Individualized Targeting

IT is a modern and prevalent marketing tool that implies employing consumers’ data to place individually directed advertisements and offerings. Thousands of users share their information on the web, allowing marketers “to gain unprecedented insight into consumers and serve up solutions tailored to their individual needs” (John et al., 2018). IT serves two primary purposes: firms determine their audiences and target promotions directly to prospective customers while consumers receive offers they are more probably interested in. Noteworthy, recent research reveals that people tend to share their data to achieve individualized offers or other benefits (Redman & Waitman, 2020). Otherwise, IT is possible due to surveillance tools, such as website cookies that track browsing history, location, and search requests. Every time users surf the web, they leave traces of their activity. Each click, tap, like, website visit, request, login, post, message, and other actions are captured in one way or another. Not only substantial companies such as Google, Facebook, or Amazon, but the generality of modern websites use cookies, notify users about it, and offer to examine cookies policy.

Aggregated information is analyzed and interpreted, defining users’ preferences, needs, interests, and expectations based on information provided directly or on indirect assumptions. Exactly knowing what customer demands and placing the corresponding advertisement on websites, social media, or mobile applications increase ad performance and consumer experience. For instance, Instagram analyzes users’ likes and subscriptions to place more relevant posts on top, generate catching recommendations, and promote appealing target advertisements. IT within social networks is a practical and functioning tool: users who trust Facebook and see justified individualized ads on this social media express interest “in purchasing the product and engaging with the advertiser” (John et al., 2018). IT provides users with catching offers on the spot, showing potentially attractive products they do not need searching for by themselves.

Consumer Privacy

The vast amounts of users’ records shaping IT evoke doubts about consumer privacy which refers to the protection and confidentiality of personal information provided by customers. Web-users incessantly leave bits of personally identifiable information such as gender, age, location, health conditions, and payment details. Data may be presented on social networks profiles or aggregated with the help of cookies. According to Redman and Waitman (2020), 90% of people caring about privacy consider that “the ways their data is treated reflects how they are treated as customers”. Moreover, they will not purchase from companies unless they know how their information is used (Redman & Waitman, 2020). Legislations try to fill this gap: in Hong Kong, for instance, the data user must explain the purpose and possible receivers of the data collected (Ho & Tham, 2021). Nevertheless, IT frequently relies on the data collected without permission, provided by third parties, or suggestions made by analytical software: such misuse of personal information results in the data leak, which interferes with consumer privacy.

Careless transmission and exploitation of users’ information make data vulnerable to being stolen and abused. Information users disclose on the web “may be copied, sold, replicated, distributed, and eventually coalesced into profiles and even complete dossiers” (Whitman & Mattord, 2018, p. 16). Negative consequences of a data breach include reputational damage and financial loss. Targeting ads of a sensitive nature may reveal information that consumer does not want to disclose. For instance, Target retailer personalized promotion exposed teenage girl pregnancy to her father: privacy violation outraged many retailer consumers (John et al., 2018). Information value and frivolous exploitation highlight the necessity of enhancing strategies and privacy policies.

Opinion

Although users’ privacy may be violated, IT appears to be a beneficial marketing strategy that requires improvements and more distinct policy regulations. Aggregated personal data should be secured and applied as intended. Websites generally contain privacy policy pages describing the collection and exploitation of users’ data and its protection methods. Regardless, people claim that the sustainable issue is unawareness of how and what for their information is used since privacy policies are overly formal thus vague (Redman & Waitman, 2020). Consumers should receive transparent and justified disclosures of how their data is used and why they receive particular ads.

Another strategy is giving consumers control over the use of their data: allowing users to manage cookies and personal information, providing options for collected data exploitation. A conclusive suggestion for safeguarding information is to “transfer data created and controlled by private entitles to public institutions” (Sadowskj et al., 2021, p. 171). The confidence that information is stored and secured by government agencies instead of unauthorized usage by various companies can create the necessary trust between consumers and firms.

References

Ho, S. M., & Tham, Y. M. (2021). Hong Kong – data protection overview. OneTrust DataGuidance. Web.

John, L. K., Kim, T., & Barasz, K. (2018). Ads that don’t overstep. Harvard Business Review, 96(1), 62-69. Web.

Redman, T. C., & Waitman, R. M. (2020). Do you care about privacy as much as your customers do? Harvard Business Review, 98(2). Web.

Sadowski, J., Viljoen, S., & Whittaker, M. (2021). Everyone should decide how their digital data are used not just tech companies. Nature, 595, 169-171. Web.

Whitman, M. E., & Mattord, H. J. (2018). Principles of information security (6th ed.). Cengage Learning.

The Oasis Cruise Firm’s Marketing Issues

Summary and Business Activities

The ship had to start its work during economic decline when the United States dealt with the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. Managers were aware of certain risks but initially received good feedback from customers. The clients were mainly US citizens, although the company wanted to reorient itself to the international market. Clients preferred routes to the Caribbean or the Bahamas, but Greece and Turkey were also famous. The price for a ticket for one person was about 1400-1500 dollars.

Managers and marketers had to decide which segments to develop and which group of customers to target. The average client was a person or family of spouses who were about 40 years old. Their income was about 90-100 thousand dollars a year, and they had one or two higher educations. These couples had children who, on average, were about 18 years old. Due to the size and extensive functionality of Oasis Cruise, managers could not decide and which specific requests to satisfy.

The main advantage of Oasis Cruise was the possibility of long-distance travel without changing hotels. It was significant for clients who wanted to relax and unwind rather than test their health and stamina while on vacation. Many of these clients received ship recommendations from colleagues, friends, or relatives. It means that the ship’s clients independently organize local advertising campaigns, and Oasis Cruise is not needed support at this level.

Analysis: Applying Marketing Theories

The main problems are the incomprehensibility and blurring of the target audience and the possible loss of customers in the future. The first problem is related to the fact that the Oasis Cruise team tries to please all customers with different price requests. The second problem is also related to the ship’s maintenance requiring serious investments, and it is not clear how they can pay off if the Oasis Cruise is delayed on the market as a budget option.

The Oasis Cruise team needs the support of SWOT theory, which will allow a sober assessment of opportunities and risks. Oasis Cruise can profitably sell strengths with the help of marketers, and managers can turn weaknesses into strengths with the right approach. Managers will be able to decide what their priority is: to correct and change faults or maintain forces. Understanding the big picture is very important for marketers who can create an advertising strategy or help with a PR strategy. The key to a successful marketing strategy is understanding the target audience, and each target community has its values, priorities, and desires. Marketers, knowing these aspects, will be able to profitably sell existing services and find out which services will be relevant soon for the target group of consumers.

The theory of PESTEL analysis will help make an even broader look at the possibilities of Oasis Cruise and, most importantly, predict customers’ behavior. PESTEL analysis allows people in business to assess the possible future of the industry and its popularity from five different angles. The Oasis Cruise team will be able to see how their business is more likely to change. It can be a political change, an environmental one, or an economic one. By evaluating revenues and the general sociology of customers, Oasis Cruise can stay ahead of the curve, offering cheap services during economic decline. Thus, it will be possible to retain most customers who see that Oasis Cruise adapts exactly to their current opportunities.

Plato’s Philosophy: Souls Are Immortal

Plato’s main argument is that souls are immortal and responsible for the recollection of knowledge. He uses the example of recollection to show that souls are immortal and existed before a human is born by mentioning instances in which people can recollect knowledge that they have never been conversant with. Plato states, “If a man, when he has heard or seen or in any other way perceived a thing, knows not only that thing, but also has a perception of some other thing, the knowledge of which is not the same, but different, are we not right in saying that he recollects the thing of which he has the perception?” (Plato 1). This claim functions in the larger society by helping people understand the truth about fundamental challenges involving beauty, knowledge, love, and existence. People are likely to behave depending on the previous souls that they have inhabited. This is evident because when the body and soul are combined, the body serves as the master, and the soul has to obey and observe (Plato 4). The main consequence of adopting this is that people’s actions may be blamed on their souls rather than themselves because their souls have to control them.

Plato gives sufficient evidence to support his main argument. He states, “the souls existed previously, before they were in human form, apart from bodies, and they had intelligence” (Plato 4). In supporting that souls existed before humans are born, he gives proof that souls acquired knowledge before they were in human form. That is why these souls can define things such as beauty, and this is always compared to their previous inferences, which shows that the souls existed before. Another example to support that souls existed before is that people are born with instincts of good and bad even without being taught in society or school. For instance, when a small child touches fire, they are likely to determine that it burns and hurts and therefore know that it is bad to touch fire. This shows that there is an instinct in a person that helps them make decisions on good and bad things for them. Another example is when a child is given something sweet to taste, they will generally like it without consulting anyone, and this is because their soul guides them, and it also knows the definition of sweet. This shows that souls being immortal is very functional and realistic.

In supporting the second claim of recollection of knowledge, he gives the example of the cloak and lurk and how they remind someone of their loved ones. Plato states, “Well, you know that a lover when he sees a lyre or a cloak or anything else which his beloved is wont to use, perceives the lyre and in his mind receives an image of the boy to whom the lyre belongs, do you not?” (Plato 1). This example shows that knowledge is a recollection of thoughts triggered by various events. Another example that can support Plato’s theory is that when a person is given a word vocabulary to name pictures of certain animals, they are stuck, giving them a clue, which may be the first letter that may help them recall the whole name. This shows that minds are triggered by seeing, hearing, or sensing to remember things that they have known in the past. Therefore, it is agreeable that souls are immortal, and they existed before humans are born and proven, and that is why humans can recollect knowledge that they have never interacted with within their entire life when exposed to it because it enables them to remember.

Plato’s argument for soul immortality and knowledge recollection is sound and valid. Plato gives clear and precise examples of how knowledge is recollected through different examples of the cloak, enslaved person, and even equality. Regarding the example of a cloak, it is true that when a mind is exposed to an instrument that it has seen before, it is most likely to recall things associated with the instrument. This shows that when the mind is also directed through previous events, it can recollect knowledge that existed before the person was born. Therefore, it is correct and valid to say that since people can remember and get right some things they have never interacted with before, their soul must have existed in the previous world, and it helps them recollect knowledge. A real-life example is that when given the right directions, some people can operate machines they have never operated in their whole life. This may indicate that their souls can recollect knowledge of these machines and remember how to operate them, making Plato’s claim sound and valid.

Despite the proof of the soul helping individuals recollect knowledge, Plato provides a weak argument on how the soul can be re-used from one individual to another. According to his theory, when people die, their souls are re-used by other people or creatures depending on the previous holders’ actions. Therefore the soul is always trapped in the body and cannot leave until a person dies. However, it is unclear how the soul can move from one person to another based on the actions of the previous holder. Based on the Christian religion, each soul is accountable to one person, and therefore each shall be judged according to the deeds of those persons here on earth. This shows that each individual has one soul, which is permanently theirs, and even after death, it awaits judgment day and is not transferred to another body. The other argument that makes Plato’s points weak is that if souls were re-generated, the world population would not increase or decrease since the souls do not die. Therefore, his claims are not able to explain the increasing global population. This shows that Plato’s theory still has some weaknesses.

In reply to the first objection about souls having to be judged based on the actions of their bodies, it can be argued that when the body dies, the soul has to undergo punishment or reward based on the actions of the previous holder before they are trapped in the next body. The second weakness of the world’s population is that there are an infinite number of souls in space, which allows humans to reproduce as much as they want. Therefore, when each body is born, a soul accompanies it.

To sum up, it is true that when people die, their souls continue to live. However, this does not mean that they will be re-used in other individuals or creatures because they have to be accountable for the individuals they were assigned to. On the other hand, I agree with Plato that knowledge is a recollection of already existing factors; however, he should have explained how the soul gains that knowledge.

Work Cited

Plato. Plato in Twelve Volumes, Vol. 1 translated by Harold North Fowler; Introduction by W.R.M. Lamb. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1966