I have two messages for you: sensational and frightening. Actually, it’s one and the same message, but its reception depends on which side of the “marketing fence” you are. Ready? Here it comes. With your geolocation data at their disposal (provided by your mobile phone which traces your every step), the scientists are able to predict your location on the next day with an accuracy of 96%. Specially designed algorithm takes into account your habits, the topography of the city and even your social graph (the relationships with your friends) and then spits out a frighteningly accurate forecast.
That’s not all — when you’re in a restaurant, that same algorithm is able to predict, what you are going to order. If you are going shopping, it will know, what you put in your basket. All this providing you have delivered reliable data from your past. We are habit-driven creatures, even if we deny it or not want to admit it.
And this denial was a problem for marketers. What good is knowledge that a consumer will want to use this or that product? What good is knowing when to slip his favorite advertisement to him? It’s all in vain, because the consumer does not like to be taken by surprise. Even if deep in his soul he knows we are right.
Imagine such situation: a consultant from your bank is calling you. You learn from him that your bank had introduced a completely new service for best account holders: individual account analysis. As soon as you had agreed on the terms and conditions (none of which you obviously didn’t read), you are presented with the results of this analysis.
The results read: when you’re in New York in business (you live in Cleveland), you regularly buy dinners for two and chocolates. The bank data says you have a wife in Cleveland, so the analysis suggests (with 96% accuracy) you have a mistress in New York. Your bank — in an attempt to predict and meet your needs — has prepared a special offer for “by the hour” rooms in New York, right next to the very restaurant you like to have dinner in.
All this based only on the analysis of your credit card purchases. Imagine the custom offers the bank can give you when you install a phone app that delivers the geolocation data when you’re not buying…
Does this scare you? This world is coming. We are becoming more and more accustomed to the thought that corporations such as Facebook or Google know about our online endeavors more than we would like to admit. In a 2011 study by KPMG 52% of Americans stated they would sacrifice their privacy in exchange for some coupons that are tailored to their behavior patterns. And these patterns, the study shows, have very much in common with the wide culture that shapes the consumers. By “culture” I mean the ideas that “infect you” through your social graph. A consumer who is often going to the movies is thinking differently than a consumer who watches movies mostly on YouTube. They may both live in Washington, they both may have a Facebook account, but the advertising targeting these consumers has to be different.
Cultural targeting will be an extension to social media marketing in the coming future. I will write about it soon. I’m pretty sure you will come back to this site again.