Businesses are scrambling over themselves to keep up in the rapidly evolving digital media age. The Internet of Things has highlighted just how far behind marketers are in terms of exploiting the technologies to boost business profits. That might be good for customers, but ultimately the toolkits of the marketing team will continue to grow in this direction. Does that mean a lack of privacy is to be expected?
Marketers would argue that they will become better able to target the needs and wants of the individual. Big Data offers them the chance to closely analyze the customer’s behaviors. It looks at preferences and, indeed, their entire lifestyle. In truth, we, the customer, have put much of our lives out there already. The idea that Big Data analysts can collate and interpret that data is what scares us the most.
Still, we continue to connect with several favored business brands on a daily basis. From the humble mobile phone to our TVs, laptops, and fitness watches – we are connected because we want to be. We choose the apps that sit on our phones and other devices. App development continues to provide business with the in-road they need to directly nudge their customer into action with push notifications. But most importantly, they can help a business provide their customer with the service they need, where they need it.
Smart mirrors seem certain to enter our homes in the mainstream shortly. These too aim to deliver highly targeted messages (advertisements) to people in their homes. But will customers feel too vulnerable? They stare into these mirrors brushing their hair, shaving their faces, and applying their makeup. Is this a step too far? It seems unlikely. After all, the law protects every one of us, and we can opt out of any message we choose. Of course, that doesn’t stop the data we access from being analyzed.
Is it fair to say that everything is known about us from our browsing histories? Search engines for website lookups, shopping, and even TV subscriptions could reveal an awful lot. Perhaps they know us better than we know ourselves? None of this means the data will be used, though. And certainly, it doesn’t mean that businesses will use it for marketing campaigns targeted directly at us. After all, customers like to visit business websites, FaceBook pages and YouTube videos when it suits them to do so. Does this mean businesses are missing a trick?Picture sourced from Pexels
There are, as always, dozens of questions raised whenever technology like this moves forward so rapidly. There is always a way to exploit the system, and there is always a way to opt out. Should businesses be using the data? This information might provide a better, deeper insight into what customers really want and need. Surely that means customers get a better product and a better service?
It’s not easy to clearly identify what will happen in the future. There will undoubtedly be breakthroughs and innovators that lead the way. And trends will undoubtedly change over time. Ultimately, businesses have to use the data and their marketing efforts in a way that customers are comfortable with. Or the customer will simply not buy.