A recent report by the Wall Street Journal discovered that many smartphone and iPad applications are sending personal information to advertisers and marketers, often without the device user’s knowledge. And, one suspects, without the app providers too, giving the developer an additional revenue stream.

You have to wonder whether this development of privacy intrusion may cause a backlash from consumers for brands in the coming months and years. More search engine and internet marketing agencies are endeavouring to capture long-term and new customers by offering social media apps, as well as search engine and keyword apps, to enhance agencies’ core services in addition to advising brands and clients about developing consumer mobile apps.

App creation is one way around the seemingly non-stop development of anti-advertising feeling amongst consumers, whether these are your client’s consumers or your own clients. Many search marketing agencies are finding that it is more down to word of mouth and through speaking at events, blogging, great Tweets or status updates that now brings the leads and clients in this new decade.

At the consumer end, this is highlighted in the fact that consumers are opting to pay a premium for content and services that are advert and marketing hype free. And it is noticeable in the number of agencies who are advising brands to dump the ads for hyper-rich content and services aimed clearly at the target audience. For instance, the 15-30 mobile demographic is being targeted through concerts and festival sponsorship, and services such as the Orange mobile phone recharge tent and Power Wellies at Glastonbury undoubtedly do more for the brand than many TV ads could.

Creating entertaining and useful content for your consumers looks to be the way to go, as well as ensuring you get the right mix of monologue and dialogue going with your target audience. A fine example of how not to advertise but to entertain and interact instead has to be the brand, Ted Baker, whose CEO Ray Kelvin employed guerrilla marketing tactics with zero ad spend to create one of the leading fashion names in an industry which has a phenomenal ad budget.

However, even getting that mix of advertising (or not) and interactivity right, it is when you attempt to engage and gather data from your audience that problems can occur. Whilst you need stats to ensure that your marketing strategy is working, step too far over the line and it could end up burning you.

In essence, if one adds concerns about privacy online to the growing super-saturation of many consumers to adverts, and a continuing reluctance by many companies to create content rather than traditional ads, one can soon see how marketing apps that send personal data and identifying info about users could cause problems for those associated with such activity.

The mobile marketing arena is increasing by the day; however, it seems that in 2011, there is an added complexity when considering who should design your mobile apps, and whether any back doors may be included that could hold long term problems for your brand.

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology