Thursday, June 14, 2012

Time for Facebook, LinkedIn (And Users) to Grow Up
Publicly traded social networks have a responsibility to protect our privacy; and we have a responsibility to be judicious about what we share about ourselves for public consumption

In case you missed it last week, hackers waltzed through LinkedIn’s lax security system and stole more than 6 million user passwords which had been only lightly encrypted. (the CBS music site) and eHarmony the dating site were also hacked recently. Facebook and Google aren’t exactly Fort Knox either, considering how much they know about you.

On the surface, a breach of LinkedIn doesn’t seem so serious since the platform is mainly used for professional networking and posting resumes and other career credentials. But hackers know most users tend to use the same (or similar passwords) on their brokerage accounts, online bank accounts and company logins. That should send a few shudders through I.T. departments across the country.

Companies with massive amounts of valued customer continue to gamble on their own security. Why? It costs money and doesn’t translate directly to the bottom line as you can’t sell ads against it.

Forget Facebook, Twitter for contacting customers

Security issues aside, Email is still customers’ preferred channel for permission-based promotional message according to ExactTarget’s new 2012 Channnel Preferences Survey. Nearly four out of five (77%) of customers preferred to be reached by email, easily outdistancing direct mail (9%), text messaging (5%), Facebook (4%), telephone (2%) or Twitter and mobile app (1% each).

Meanwhile, new research from The Sales Benchmarking Index found that poorly executed lead generation programs are the main reason they fail to grow and retain good sales staff. Low quality leads were shown to cause a direct increase in employee and customer turnover, work-related burnout, rejections, complaints and the time it takes a new sales rep to hit their quota. Not surprisingly, researchers recommended that companies allocate a large source of the budget to pursuing sources of high quality leads.

We couldn’t agree more—provided that you put a real lead gen plan in place and don’t just throw money at the problem.

Macro view

Stocks advanced earlier this week thanks to speculation that the Fed will act to juice the economy and job market and that the European Central Bank will back a plan to guarantee bank deposits. We’re also encouraged by yesterday’s government report that said U.S. consumer prices fell in May for the first time in two years as plunging gasoline costs offset increasing rents and more expensive medical care. U.S. consumer prices fell in May for the first time in two years as plunging gasoline costs offset increasing rents and more expensive medical care. Experts say modest inflation gives the Federal Reserve room to act further to help prop up the sagging recovery, if necessary.


If you’re going to take advantage of the powerful free platforms on the social web—whether for personal or business use—you need to consider the extent of what you share with the world or how you use these platforms to interact with customers. By and large, research says they don’t like it. Consider that, and a weak sales lead generation program, when you’re wondering why customers aren’t renewing or calling you back.


TAGS: ExactTarget, Sales Benchmarking Index, Sales leads, Facebook over-rated, Twitter over-rated

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