“Meaningful” is key in the mission statement of BAM ( www.marketing.be ) At a point in time where data-driven cars are starting to be powered by electricity, cookies are a serious catalyst of the new digital economy. There is no way around them in the new economy. They are essential for the Internet. Without them, webpages in general would be less useful and interactive. Online purchases from the comfort of your sofa or bed would be impossible. Cookies are small text files stored in your browser directory or data folder, keeping you logged in as a user while browsing different pages. Your browsing history becomes part of a database which websites consult to improve your experience.
Cookies can be divided into two major subsets.
Session cookies remain stored in the browser and retain your information until you close the web page. When you open a new browser window, you are treated as a new visitor so you must input your credentials.
Persistent cookies, however, are kept by the browser until their expiry date, or until you manually delete the cookie. Websites thus remember you after you close your browser. They help websites to retain your information for future visits, providing faster and more convenient access since you don’t have to log in again… They facilitate language selection, theme selection, menu preferences, internal site bookmarks or favorites, and so on.
When you add items to a purchase list for example, session cookies keep track of the items. If you remove an item, persistent cookies will eliminate these selections from the database for your next visit. If you search a site for jazz music, then the next time you come to the site it will retrieve your records and fill the landing page with more jazz. No Gregorian songs. I call this meaningfully keeping the consumer’s preference on file.
Cookies also help the individual to connect physical objects to the virtual world, creating a panoply of possibilities, ranging from manufacturing goods to communication, together with the development of artificial intelligence. And real-time data are used by businesses to initiate the creation of highly tailored products.
According to the principle that meaningful marketing is respect marketing, the focus on customer experience and customer engagement is becoming more and more meaningful in managing interactions with current and prospective customers. And with IoT things are moving up a gear, making individuals – and no longer computers – the interface between a network of devices they are connected with. Powered by cookies, the quantity of data is growing exponentially. It is the marketer’s role to synchronize in real-time with the “interface” gaining individuals’ trust and providing relevant products and services as well as cyber safety and transparency.
More and more technologies also introduce individuals to a virtual world using immersive multimedia or computer-generated realities which are blended with the real world, create an imagined world, or do both, using headsets iPads, laptops – and even glasses and watches.
In all of this, persistent cookies play a crucial role, now that we are all digital by default from morning to evening, in our daily customer journey. The economy is digital by default…
Meaningful marketing is about creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging goods and services that are valuable to customers, clients, partners, and society at large. It is about raising trust and credibility. It is also about empowering the economy. That is what BAM stands for.
Internet fraud is a big worry.
More particularly, we are concerned that the e-regulation proposal uses web browsers as “cookie gatekeepers” to prevent third-party access to the consumer’s device, leading to a disproportionate power compared to the other players of the online ecosystem. And often first parties rely on third parties to provide users with certain information and services on the websites they visit. This would concentrate all information related to the user in the hands of the few non-European major browser companies which already dominate the European market.
Less scrupulous first-party players and several of their third-party counterparts have gathered personal information without consumers’ knowledge. This goes against the principles of meaningful marketing which is respect marketing. And the industry needs to fight this trend.
For breaking into computer systems the hackers only need your sessions and cookies. They can steal information in various ways, like cookie hijacking, session hijacking, session sniffing. They use bots, web robots which are software applications running automated simple and repetitive tasks at a much higher rhythm than would be possible for an individual. Website owners need to know how to fight hackers. This is a matter of industry responsibility.
The legislative process is slow. Self-regulation is fast and flexible. It is the authorities‘role to enable the internet ecosystem to prosper, and to avoid the concentration of user data and power among a handful of dominant online players through technical neutral rules. On the other hand, the industry should match the high speed of technical developments through flexible self-regulation which should include guidelines and best market practices on how to draw up contracts between first-party and third-party players on how to protect consumer data in their transactions. Cybersecurity guidelines preventing dishonest first & third party players and unwanted hackers intruding websites would also be welcome. To enable those in favor of meaningful marketing to re-gain their righteous place in the value chain.
Protecting the weakest link in the process, the consumer, is simply meaningful for BAM.