3 Ways Health Data Will Impact All Marketers

The popularity of smartphones means that businesses are gaining increasing insight into what consumers want – and exactly when and where. Location-based technology allows anyone with a smart device to find the nearest3 Ways Health Data Will Impact All Marketers restaurant, or shoe store, or coffee shop, or even individual items in a particular aisle of a store. People who use fitness or health applications can track their activity levels and other important wellness factors.

Of course, as the prevalence of location-based data rises, so do privacy concerns. Though consumers are certainly warming up to this type of data sharing, there is an overarching fear about what it all means in the grand scope of consumer privacy. This is especially true when it comes to health data. When consumers are tracked in this realm, does it cross the strict lines of privacy that lawmakers have tried so hard to protect through legislation like HIPAA laws?

It’s an interesting debate, certainly. On one hand, better health tracking benefits patients and can save time in the event of an emergency. On the other hand, health data has always been closely guarded because it can lead to things like discrimination.

But what does it all mean for everyone else? What can all marketers understand better about consumers, based on the health data debate? Why should non-health related apps and services pay attention to what happens with the information allowed in health technology? Here are just a few reasons that what happens with consumer privacy regarding health data will impact everyone else:

  • Consumers will become more aware. As the health tracking debate comes to the public surface, consumers who knew very little about how their smart devices track them will start to learn more. They may not like what they learn – and it could spell trouble for marketers in the future.
  • Consumers will expect more. Think of all the things your smartphone already does for you: gives you instant internet access, reads you your texts and emails, reminds you when it is your mom’s birthday or when you need to make an important phone call for work. As each part of our lives gets connected to smart applications, we expect more intuitive measures from everything else. This mentality will be heightened even more if health apps are fully integrated in what we use our phones to do.
  • Consumers will look elsewhere. As the laws in the U.S. are put in place to provide privacy protection on health apps, consumers will learn more about how data is protected in other countries. Expect issues like the right to be forgotten online to surface with more vocal support from the general public.

Overall the adoption of health apps will lift the mobile technology industry by mainstreaming a necessary area into smartphone usage. It’s important for all marketers to understand the implications of health-based apps and what the laws end up looking like surrounding them, because it will impact consumer behavior and expectations.

What do you think the laws should be when it comes to health tracking?

Do Consumers Love or Hate Personalized Messaging?

Do consumers love or hate personalized messaging

Tell me if this sounds familiar: You log into your laptop and type in the name of the car make and model you are interested in buying. When you log into Facebook five minutes later, an ad for that exact make and model pops up in the right rail. You look down at your phone at a stoplight on the way to work, and an ad for a nearby car dealership with a picture of that car appears on your lockscreen. It seems that the single search term you typed in is following you, adding more context and personalized information along the way.

Once the stuff of science fiction movies, this real-time ad targeting based on search history, location and other online behavior is now a reality. Is it creepy? Maybe a little. But growing research points to an interesting statistic: Consumers like personalized, hyper-targeted ad messaging from brands that they trust.

A recent study from IPG Media and Yahoo of 5,000 mobile users found that the majority of respondents appreciated location-based ad targeting, as well as ad suggestions based on search history and life events. The study also found that the smaller the mobile device, the higher the user expectation for customized information. For example, a user riding public transportation and searching for a restaurant expects his or her smartphone to identify location and deliver answers that make sense in that context. Basically, needing to Google a location term is now viewed as an annoyance.

Though consumers seem to be gradually embracing personalized content that benefits themselves, the study also found that mobile users were turned off by being given information on what their friends liked, visited or were doing at a given moment. Feasibly the negativity there stems from people not wanting the same information to be shared about themselves without permission.

These findings are important, even for businesses that do not use mobile or device tracking in their promotions. They point to a more intuitive approach to reaching consumers that is gaining popularity and will forever change the way we do business. Consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to doing less work to track down what they need, which puts the burden of visibility even more firmly on the shoulders of the sellers. This may sound overwhelming but can be accomplished through a few simple tasks, including:

Consumer buying habits will continue to evolve with technology, but there’s no reason to get left behind. By understanding these behavior changes, and sticking to tried-and-true customer service and promotional tactics, consumers will keep coming back.

5 Must Have Apps for the iPhone

 

There are literally a million apps availableapps for iPhone in the App Store for iPhones. As of October, 2013, Apple was proud to announce they had grown from their initial offering of 800 apps in July of 2008, to a total of 1,000,000 (475,000 native to the iPad).

Obviously, it will take quite a while to get through that huge list of “helpers”. These are the tools that make your phone the truly powerful tool it can be. Okay, so it can also be a great time waster with the endless amount of games and other amusements, but we’re going to stick with some of the more productive options out there.

  1. Google Maps This is the app I find myself using more than any other. Having an Atlas and GPS in your pocket at all times is a convenience it’s almost hard to believe I lived without. Google Maps is still by far the best free map app available for the iPhone.

    You can look up addresses and get turn-by turn directions in real time. There are tips to avoid traffic, and safer bike routes (in select areas). What more could you ask for? Well, plenty, probably. But it won’t be long before that’s available, too.

  2. Snapseed is the most versatile camera app available today – at least for free. It offers a nice range of editing tools and cool filters, along with strong photo correction, non-destructive editing and localized adjustments.

    Besides integrating well with all of the social networks, Snapseed is the only iPhone app that comes close to a desktop photo-editing program.

  3. LinkedIn continues to be the best business networking tool available. Whether you are very active in the professional world, or just looking for a job, LinkedIn can be a priceless aid.

    Having full access to your business associates and all their information at the ready can prove to be invaluable.

    Regardless of your field, as the smartphone and networking worlds grow so does LinkedIn. It is an important online network for anyone serious about their profession, and offers a very thorough iPhone app.

  4. Dashlane is a very simple and effective password manager app. Like with any other password app, you’ll have to create one strong password to remember for you Dashlane account. All other passwords can be generated (on another device) and saved automatically to your account.

    The app allows you access to your login credentials, and a copy and paste function for the encrypted passwords into apps and mobile websites when you need to use them.

    There are some limitations to the free version, but a premium account can be had for $4.99 a month, or $39.99 a year. The premium account includes syncing which is vital to using the iPhone app. Dashlane is extremely secure, and if you perform sensitive transactions on your phone, it is worth the extra security.

  5. Dropbox is, for many computer users, synonymous with file sharing and synching. It has been around for a long time, and as probably the most recognizable name in file-sharing, it integrates with literally hundreds of other apps and services.

    Dropbox is a great way to have access to, and share, files of all types for you and your team – whatever the project may be – and wherever you may be. If you already use Dropbox as a computer user, the app is a must. You have access to all the files, wherever you are, in your pocket.

  6. Twitter. Yes, this is a list of 5 Essential apps, and this is number 6. I debated adding Twitter, but decided to add it because of its ever-growing omnipresence in every facet of our culture.

    We all need our distractions from time to time, and there is no question that Twitter is indeed a never-ending stream of that.

    And, unlike Angry Birds, it can be legitimately used for business opportunities – or, at least that’s always a fair excuse.

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