We have ways of making you...buy ~ Brand Mix

Thursday, April 28, 2011

We have ways of making you...buy

Where the famous line "We have ways of making you talk" actually came from (This Day in Quotes)
This week's hoo-hah about the Apple's iPhone's file that logs your historical whereabouts shows the fine line between our love and hate of what our smartphones can do for us and with us. We love applications that tell us how to get to where we want to go or find what we want from our current location. But we hate the idea that our whereabouts can be tracked and used by anyone else (even if we are only too happy to volunteer that same information, often with photographs, via Facebook).

Something else we like, nay demand, is that these smartphone services like maps or Facebook should be free. Yet we don't like the ads that generate the revenues that help keep these things free, nor the idea that they could be made more effective by using the data they collect.

For those already sensitive to data and location privacy, this article from Wired about persuasion profiling is not going to be a happy read. Persuasion profiling goes a big step beyond targeted ads. As Wired says: "It doesn’t just find content you might enjoy. It figures out how you think." Research has shown that people are typically more receptive to some types of persuasion than others. Some people are persuaded by expert reviews, others by time-sensitive deals, others by a simple sales message, and they are responsive to the same type of approach across multiple domains. By tracking what worked and didn't work with individual people in the past and then focusing on the best approach, researchers were able to increase ad effectiveness by up to 40%.

As marketers, the idea of being able to target the right ads to the right people in the right way sounds attractive. How great would it be to be able to nuance our brand messages based on our understanding of the consumer's needs and preferences? And, to some extent, it's not much different from principles already applied in direct mail. But our enthusiasm for such an opportunity has to be balanced by an understanding of people's concerns about their privacy. Starting with the name itself, it doesn't take much effort to make "persuasion profiling" sound scary. The Wired article takes that route, concluding: "Persuasion profiling potentially offers quick, easily transferable, targeted access to your personal psychological weak spots." That just sounds awful. All expeditions into this new territory must proceed with due caution.


ralf said...

Thank you for sharing this...what a dilemma! One the one hand it is brilliant, on the other it sounds awful. What do you do if your competitors adopt such methods and you remain cautious and mindful. There has got to be a solution to this vexing problem..."we track you because you are important to us" sounds like too feeble an explanation. Need to think!

ralf said...

Good news? How to keep the best the method offers while abstaining from the worst?

Kamil Ali said...

Nice observation Martin,

I think it's OK to show ads to those target market who can be interested in your brand or product.

When a consumer doesn't buy a good product. There're two people at stake.

1. Consumer (As he could in the hand of scammed products)
2. Salesman (As his job is in trouble)

I think, targeted ads has decrease the wastage of time and resources.

There're always merits and demerits of the service. We should observe which side is heavy before rejecting anything.

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