Shift Toward Consumer Control Is Happening Now

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Attention to Intention to VRM – Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

“You cannot do personalization effectively without knowing an awful lot of information about an enormous number of people. The privacy backlash is building. Today it is only techies who are aware of the issue and where it is headed, but when mainstream users get spooked by a few more high profile cases, we will see consumer backlash and then, with politicians on the bandwagon, more regulation.”

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Personalization is the key to productivity. As marketing becomes more and more “personalized,” an increased concern about consumer privacy is growing. The backlash referred to in the article is happening today, in response to intrusions by facebook and many other companies. A great deal of targeting marketing that exists currently seems much more intrusive than it seems personalized. As technology around this issue is being developed and refined, some of the offers that consumers receive are brilliantly on target, but more often than that, these offers are offensively off. This is because most of the results are generated by using impersonal algorithms to look at a variety of unrelated facts, and slap them together to form some sort of sloppy conclusion in the form of a poorly crafted “personalized” message.

This problem occurs because personal preferences are not static. They are constantly changing and evolving, based on who a person is in context. For an example of this, let’s think of a 40 year old woman. We’ll call her Jane.

Jane is a career woman, a mother of young children, and is happily married. If you talk to Jane at 7 o’clock in the morning when she is getting the children ready for school, her interests, needs, and general disposition are going to be vastly different than if you caught her at 1 pm in the office, or at 9 pm after the children have gone to bed. If you look at her purchasing patterns completely separate from who she is as a person, you will draw much different conclusions about her than if you had an integrated view. Having the integrated view is how you gain Jane as a loyal customer.

Affect on Marketers:

“Push” marketing will not maintain the same effectiveness it once had, especially if it stays the way it is and continues to insult consumer intelligence by pretending to ‘know’ the individual. Marketers aiming for specific targets, inflicting the information, and expecting results, has a shelf life, and the expiration date is nearing. The revolution that is occurring currently will shift things in the direction of “pull” marketing. In other words, instead of willingly receiving the barrage of information that is out there being shoved at them, consumers are curating for themselves, using social media and other tools to seek out and gather the marketing messages they want to receive; finding the offers that are valuable and relevant to who they are. It is becoming a necessity for brands and companies to have a presence in this consumer-controlled world, so that when people organize this information for themselves and pull in the data they want to see, their messages are not thrown to the cutting room floor.

Implications:

“The basic idea – that data about me is my data and I should be able to control it and benefit from who has access to it – is sound and resonates with people at a gut level.”

This is one of the core ideas for Talk3. The service we provide is a personalized platform, which has come to be called the personal commerce, or p-commerce platform. It allows consumers to filter various data sources against who they are; their interests and problems. It also allows the consumer to find matches of people, information, products, or services that are most likely to provide relevant solutions. Through integrating with mobile technology, our platform is able to respond to consumer needs in context throughout the day and throughout their lives.

The shift to consumer control is happening. Marketers can either become a part of the solution, by partnering with consumers in VRM-type relationships, or get left behind.

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