We are a marketing company whose clients range from some of the biggest companies and charities in the U.S. to local charities, such as food banks. We help our clients identify people who might be interested in their marketing offers. In other words, we create audiences and help our clients make better marketing decisions. To do this, we study consumer characteristics and then make predictions about what it is that individuals are likely to be interested in. We match those interests against the marketing goals of our clients to find the best fit. Sometimes our research is intended to help our clients find new donors or customers, others to find new ways to serve or connect with existing donors or customers. But whether they are our clients, the American consumer, or others, we care about people.
What we do is complex and it has an impact on consumer privacy. We would like to take a moment to explain how we protect your privacy. We don’t release information to third parties concerning specific items that a consumer has purchased, what magazines they read, or what charities they support unless requested by the organization with whom the consumer has the relationship. We don’t sell information to data brokers or compilers. We don’t possess or utilize the credit card or bank account numbers. We don’t collect or store Social Security numbers or other government-issued identifiers. We don’t collect or store HIPAA data or other information specifying a consumer’s medical conditions. We don’t work with clients whose offer we consider pornographic or harmful to families.
Instead, we match our clients’ customer information to a specific consumer by comparing the name, address, email address or other identifiers. We are able to then associate a consumer or a de-identified consumer profile with other data, including demographic data, social media informed data, geographic data, transaction data and transaction-based insights, and other interest-based data. We then use statistical models designed to predict consumer interest in specific offers from particular businesses and non-profit causes or in categories of product, service or cause to analyze the data we have about consumers. Our models predict not only who might be interested in our clients’ offers but which consumers are likely to have little or no interest in them. We use this predicted lack of interest to help improve our clients’ marketing decisions, which helps reduce the number of irrelevant advertising consumers see and saves our clients money.
We do not accept or generate information specifying individuals’ health conditions (such as protected health information, aka “HIPAA data”) and do not seek to predict that any person has a particular health condition. We do serve clients that sell non-prescription items such as maternity apparel, vitamins, and supplements. In other words, we predict whether a person may be interested in buying these types of products, but we do it without individual health information and do not predict that a person has a particular health condition on behalf of our clients or partners. In these cases, our predictive technology would seek to identify interest in the product, which might include consumers with a particular health condition and also consumers without the health condition. For example, for retailers selling maternity apparel, our predictive models seek to predict interest in that type of apparel, which will likely include those who are expectant parents (which we would not know), but also those who are not (which we also would not know) but are likely to buy for other reasons, such as for a gift for others.
Once we complete our analysis, we provide our clients with the results in a format designed for the marketing methods through which they plan to contact consumers. For example, when clients use our products to send direct mail or to better understand likely interests of their customers, we typically provide our clients information related to names and postal addresses or other individually identifying information. When our clients ask for help to connect with potentially interested consumers through digital channels, such as online or mobile advertising, we would typically provide our products in de-identified form using industry-standard privacy practices. In these cases, we, or our client, or partner will combine the results of our analyses with digital identifiers in the applicable digital channel (such as with cookie IDs for web advertising, device IDs for mobile advertising or email addresses for email advertising).
We work with a lot of consumer data, so you may be interested in how we protect it. We have implemented physical, technical and administrative measures to safeguard the security of all of the consumer information in our custody. We align our security with the NIST-800-53 privacy and security controls published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and engage an external security audit firm to test our security against these standards annually. In addition to securing the data we use, we honor people’s choice regarding its collection and use. We are consumers too, and we care deeply about our own privacy and about how our company is perceived. We believe that almost everyone wants to receive offers that are relevant and valuable to them, but that individuals also may want the choice not to receive individualized advertising.
We belong to a number of trade associations, like the DAA and the DMA division of the ANA, whose self-regulatory programs we follow; they require that businesses recognize and honor consumer choice. We do two important things to give you control over how data about you is used; first, by participating in industry-standard opt-out programs and, second, by using our own proprietary method to enable you to opt-out of receiving marketing offers from companies or causes with which you’ve never transacted based on our products.
“Opt-out” is a frequently used term, but what it means and how it is implemented may differ from company to company. At its core, however, to opt-out is to make a choice about how companies market to you. And we listen. Whether you have opted out of receiving direct mail or from receiving targeted display advertising or from receiving email messages, we respect your choices.
The industry-standard opt-out for online behavioral advertising is an excellent way to make your choice in the context of online behavioral advertising. When you use one of these opt-out tools—and there are links to them below under Other Opt-Out Solutions—a cookie is placed on your browser that signifies your choice. Respectable companies that serve display ads check for the presence of that cookie before determining whether they are allowed to serve a targeted ad on the browser. If they are not allowed to use interest-based advertising, they will instead display a random or generic ad. Respectable companies that play some role in online advertising, other than serving ads, partner with respectable ad serving companies to honor consumer choice. We work with respectable ad serving companies.
A cookie has its limitations. Cookies are temporary, browser-specific, and device-specific. If you clear your cookies, if your anti-virus software clears your cookies, if your browser is set not to accept third-party cookies, if you use a second browser, if you use a different device to view the Web, then the opt-out cookie will not reliably stop you from seeing interest-based advertising. As improved tools are developed to be more comprehensive we will evaluate them and expect the industry groups to which we belong will implement updated standards and tools.
The DMA division of the ANA maintains consumer opt-out solutions for direct mail and email offers, found at www.DMAChoice.org. We regularly update our records with information from these sources and honor the consumers’ choices when creating audiences for our clients seeking to interact with new consumers through the applicable marketing channels.
In addition to respecting the above industry opt-out solutions, you may opt-out with our company directly. We offer a solution to storing consumer advertising choices. We have provided a form, below, which you may fill out to indicate that you would prefer not to be included in the audiences that we create for our clients. When you complete the form we will record your choices in our database and exclude you from our products—direct mail, digital, or both—that we create for our clients who are seeking to find new customers, subscribers, or donors. You should provide as many versions of your name and address as you think are necessary to be comprehensive. This enables us to recognize you more completely because some people receive marketing offers under a combination of nicknames, maiden names, and alternate or older addresses. This method more reliably prevents you from receiving offers that we facilitate from companies or organizations that you have not dealt with in the past. We will set the opt-out to be permanent for our products and services based on the information you provide.
It is important to recognize what these opt-out options won’t do. They do not preclude a particular company or organization that you have dealt with in the past from sending you their marketing offers, including those that are combined or associated with a digital identifier you use. This works well for most people because they have a voluntary, mutually-beneficial relationship with those companies that they have dealt with previously. Those who prefer not to receive offers from a particular company need to contact the company directly and ask that they not receive any future marketing materials from them.
If you have questions or concerns about your advertising choices with Wiland, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important to point out that we do not control every piece of postal mail or every online ad or every email message or all of anything in any marketing channel. We are a major participant, yes. But we don’t control everything. If you opt-out with us you will likely continue to get interest-based advertising offers originated by others. To dramatically decrease interest-based advertising contacts you should not only opt-out with us but also elsewhere. Some of the major opt-out services are:
America is not a perfect place, but it is a wonderful place. The Internet is not a perfect place, but it is an incredibly valuable medium. The post office and direct mail aren’t perfect either, but they do a lot of good. Marketing enables written communication that raises millions for charity, brings excellent magazines and newspapers to avid readers, and delivers offers for goods and services that consumers enjoy. We are proud to be a part of this, and we are devoted to serving everyone well, both our clients and consumers.