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For those who are concerned about ZI's collection of publicly available, "personal" data, it is useful to be clear about the nature of this data before jumping to erroneous conclusions. In his SA article, Bert identifies and discusses these “behavioral signals”, which could be announcements of V/C financing, promotions of individuals, construction of a new plant or the introduction of a new product, for example.

A visit to ZI’s website explains the data they collect and where they get it. It’s worth a read if you’re concerned about the integrity of this company. For example, they identify

Activities that link buyers and accounts to a topic include:

• Downloads of whitepapers, case studies, tech publications
• Website visits (87% of pre-purchase research is done online. Web searches and content consumption is a strong signal of buyer intent)
• Product reviews
• Time on website pages related to industry topics
• Online subscriptions to newsletters and updates
• Views of infographics
• Attendance of webinars
• Spikes in content consumption on a given topic

This is all perfectly legitimate information in B2B marketing in an online world. In fact, it is a foundation of the sales team, whose function is to find and target potential customers who might benefit from what a company has to offer. Unethical? Unsavory? It sure doesn't sound like that to me.

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