Yes, Big Brother Really Is Watching You, Part 2 Of 2

Watching you
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In our last blog, we dove into the world of big data and described how big data is constantly being aggregated in an effort to better market to specific demographics. Because, wouldn’t consumers rather have ads specifically targeted to their interests rather than ads that are completely pointless?

This is where big data comes in. As marketers, we all get really excited about “big data” and what it could mean for marketing effectiveness. It’s not enough for us to create a highly relevant and targeted ad that is only shown to the ideal prospect based on a set of parameters we have set. We want ROI. And, we want it now!

For so many years, marketing has been relegated to the bottom of the expense list. It’s a “nice to have” not a “must have” because…how can you quantify it after all? But, what if now I could generate targeted leads from a pool of ideal prospects AND track that lead all the way through my various marketing tactics to determine what it takes for them to pick up the phone or fill out a form? Now, I have actionable data that I can take to my CEO or CFO to justify Marketing as an expense.

The conversation turns from: “What has Marketing done lately that is cool or interesting?” to “Why hasn’t Sales closed on all of those great, highly qualified leads that the Marketing team is generating?” I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have a conversation that is focused on percentage of sales conversion leading to real revenue to the company, than how many of my online ads “converted” via click-thru to a landing page. Who cares about a click-thru to a landing page if they never contact the company and turn into a “real” prospect that in turn becomes a “real” customer?

In my humble opinion, as consumers and as marketers, we spend way too much time focusing on the wrong things. It’s frustrating. Yes, I understand you don’t want Facebook or Google categorizing and sharing your data. But, you don’t want to pay the astronomical technology and service fees they would need to charge to offer that same service to you. It’s time we wake up and become “educated consumers.” Let’s stop with the Pollyanna routine.

Instead of questioning the aggregation of data, why not become more actively involved and take ownership? Companies like YEXT understand the power of owning your data and what it can mean for your business. They allow you to take control of all of your business listings across multiple search engines and manage them from one account. They offer one central location to update your address, phone #, and hours of operation. For anyone that has moved recently, you know how difficult it can be to get Google to update your online listing with the correct address.

Imagine if we could tell retailers that: my middle initial is not “A”, you send me too many direct mail pieces (I should get one not three), my shoe size is 7, and my favorite color is black. They’re going to collect the data anyway. Wouldn’t you rather they leveraged it more effectively and found the perfect pair of black booties size 7 that you’ve been looking for AND told you when it was on sale with Free Shipping???

It may not be as far away as you think. One such company, Diggen, is doing that right now. Their online software is designed to empower the customer to take control of their relationship with brands and demand the right options and ads be shown to them. It could be controversial, but I love it. I’d much rather drive that conversation than have some random algorithm like Amazon’s “New for You” section make weird suggestions based on my buying habits from personal and gift purchases. “No, I am no longer interested in Beyblades (for my kids two years ago) and kitchen utensils (for my sister in law last year).” A new world where the consumer is truly in control of the conversation? Now, that’s the world I would like to live in.

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