CONVERSIONS OVER PRIVACY: Are Companies Like Hubsport Crossing The Line?

CONVERSIONS OVER PRIVACY: Are Companies Like Hubsport Crossing The Line?

To all my fellow Marketing & eCommerce peers out there; I get it.

We all get paid in some fashion of the following formula. 

X + Y < Z

I pay you X and give you Y as a budget and you turn it into Z. 

General rule of thumb. Z ought to be bigger than X + Y or you aren’t long for your career in this field. Unlike other professions, Marketers (we’ll lump eCommerce into this term for brevity moving forward) are measured very directly against our numbers. 

As Marketers we pride ourselves on our “numbers”.  It does not matter what industry or medium you’re in, we’re simply used to proving our worth every step of the way. Can you imagine Karen from HR having to justify her own existence within a company? Likely a topic for another day! I digress. 

In our world, data is king.

Talented marketers understand that everything is data driven.

Why? Perhaps because our very livelihood depends on providing value through this data.

How much do you spend on ads? What’s your total payroll for your cost center? What items/services do you choose to sell? What demographics are you targeting? Everything comes down to data. 

So more data is always better right?

If you’re speaking strictly about closing deals. Yes. Quite simply the more you know, the better you can strategize on selling.

So where does it end? When do we cross the threshold from conversions to breaching privacy?

My recent encounter with Hubspot prompts me to firmly state, we’re already too far gone. Digital privacy is dead and big tech companies have been silently digging the graves for years. 

Brace yourselves. Here comes a personal anecdote about my week. 


As my company searches for a new CRM system to work with, I visited a number of websites that offer similar products. Hubspot, Copper, Zoho, and a few others. I simply browsed the pricing page on each and moved on. 

Within 10 minutes I had an unsolicited email from Hubspot asking me if I needed help while browsing their pricing page. 

Here’s the catch. I wasn’t on my own computer, wasn’t logged into any social media, and wasn’t on my normal IP address.

Yeah, yeah, I get it they have the tech to somehow still track me with all those obstacles, but I have to ask, WHERE IS THE GOD DAMN LINE BETWEEN CONVERTING AND MY PRIVACY? Hubspot clearly doesn’t believe there is a line.


Great story right? Okay, so maybe it’s kind of boring, but do you get it?

Does anyone else feel exposed in the digital world?

So, I have chosen a new CRM (no, not Hubspot) to work with moving into the future. My choice of whom to work with in this case, is less important than my ‘why’ for not choosing others.  My company will not be built on the backs of stalking prospects across their personal digital landscapes. It will be built with companies that draw a firm line and won’t cross it, like Basecamp. If you aren’t familiar with Basecamp and their leadership, search “Basecamp goes to congress”.

Lastly, I want to say, no, this is not an attack on Hubspot. They are a well respected organization that many people love, including some of my closest colleagues. This is merely an illustration of how desperate marketers are for more data.

There will always be companies willing to do whatever it takes to supply that data whether it crosses the line or not.


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