The TRUSTe Pioneers and Mavericks Series

Joseph Turow, Ph.D.

Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania

The Digital Marketing Transformation: How Consumer Privacy Fits into the Equation

“In the long term, if you don’t take what the public really wants into account, it is going to come back and bite you…when people begin to see that they get different commercials from their neighbors, and the TV screen starts calling you by your own name—‘creeped out’ will mean something on an entirely different scale.”

Joe’s heart is really in the study of advertising and most things media, but as the internet has emerged, and become largely ad revenue-driven on the commercial side, his ongoing research shows that American consumers on the web and elsewhere have a less-than-perfect understanding of how it all works, even as it’s increasingly a major part of their lives. “I would say that we are going through one of the most important marketing transformations in history, and the marketing and advertising industries are at this point largely self-regulating and the public is in the dark. We’ve learned from our surveys that marketers’ definitions of terms such as privacy policy and do-not-track are quite different from the public’s understanding of what those words mean. Marketing leaders are hoping that the structures and definitions of privacy are going to go their way. That’s what self-regulation is really about.  Download full interview »