When you see a Facebook ad or Yahoo junk mail for a product immediately after you’ve done a search for it, it’s a wee bit unnerving, no? Sure, the NSA is tapping our calls, texts and emails, but that’s invisible. When Zuckerberg throws a too-personalized ad at you, though, he’s essentially saying, “I know what you’ve been doing online, and here’s proof.”
Creepy? No doubt. But color me impressed as well. Throughout my umpteen years as a brand/marketing communications consultant, I’ve continually hammered home a central tenet for success: first determine who your customers are and what they want, then craft customized content to them. Many organizations have a very tough time doing this. And (shameless plug alert) Fatt Lipp specializes in helping them solve the puzzle.
Zuckerberg, Mayer, Schmidt, et al have cracked that code, online at least. Using Big Data to track everyone’s online movements, they’re pinpointing who each customer is and what he/she wants.
But that’s not even the magical part. (After all, market researchers like Acxiom have been doing this for years). No, the gee-whizness is the ability to turn that info, nearly instantly, into individually targeted banner ads, emails, etc.
Closing the gap between consumer research and consumer communication has long been a marketing challenge (witness all those Forrester and Gartner and Nielsen decks gathering dust on office credenzas). The fact that onliners are finally making it work—identify the customer and what they want, and address them accordingly—just warms this brand/marketing professional’s heart. Creepy or not.
What are your thoughts on this? I’d like to know.
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