Why Data is the New Holy Grail for Contemporary Marketers

What happens to the Data we Leave Online

All of us who exist online and on social media websites as well as use Apps would have noticed that we enter a humungous amount of information about ourselves and our likes and preferences as well as dislikes and our objections.

For instance, any registration to a website or an app requires basic information about us as well as advanced data about our preferences to make the website or the app customizable to our taste.

In addition, whenever we “link” our personal profiles on Facebook, Twitter and any of the social media websites as well as on Google and LinkedIn, we are often asked to “allow” the app or the website to access our profile information as well as our contacts list apart from permitting such sites to “post” on our pages.

Even when we “like” or comment on social media, that it leaves a “Digital Footprint” as well as a source of data and information for the websites.

Have you ever wondered about where all this data and information that is collected goes and how it is used by marketers to profile and segment our tastes and distastes to customize marketing and advertising messages to us?

In addition, have you also thought why Google and Facebook, as well as Twitter and to some extent, LinkedIn, are all free to use even when using advanced features?

In other words, the fact that you are using such services and facilities as literally no cost to you might make you wonder whether these firms are altruistic.

Marketers and the Digital Footprints

In business as in life, nothing comes for free and the invisible price that we pay for the Digital Footprints we leave behind online is the source of many advantages to marketers who then “mine” the data and the information gleaned from the various websites and apps we use to target and segment us using advanced Big Data and Analytics tools.

In other words, by leaving a rich “goldmine” of data about ourselves to the marketers, we are in effect helping them to market and sell their goods and services to us in a more targeted and customized manner.

Indeed, all social media websites and apps sell the data about ourselves to marketers who in turn, use that data apart from the websites themselves customizing our feeds and pages to target and segment us in conjunction with the marketers.

Data is the New Holy Grail for Marketers

This is the reason why data is the new “Holy Grail” for marketers as they use the humungous amount of information online to position their goods and services in a fine and granular manner by “refining” and “mining” the data.

For instance, even the basic data about ourselves is enough for marketers to collect a rich dataset on our age, gender, location, and income and jobs so that such data can be used to “direct” ads at us that are relevant to us.

Also, once we leave a Digital Footprint that in turn leads to more finely targeting and segmenting which can also be used to suggest recommendations about our future consumer behavior.

Indeed, firms such as Amazon are already intuiting and sensing our consumer behavior even before we undertake such initiatives which mean that soon other firms would also develop such Godlike abilities to predict how we would behave and consume in the future.

While this has ethical and normative implications in the sense that nobody should have that much power over us, the fact remains that we are well and truly into a future where customized marketing and targeted advertising would become a reality.

From Mass Marketing to Hyper Customization

We had come a long way from the times when mass marketing was the norm, and advertising was still in the baby years of segmenting and targeting ads based on broad demographic and psychographic data.

While the advent of Television was the first step in the process of fine-tuning consumer targeting, the arrival and emergence of the internet were the next Quantum Leap as far as marketers were concerned.

With the Smartphone revolution, the stakes have considerably increased, and we are now at a stage where our minds and soon our bodies are going to be wired into a Worldwide Mind where our next moves can be predicted by Algorithms, and Big Data-Enabled Analytics.

Ethical Implications

As mentioned earlier, this has ethical implications for the way in which we shop and live and already, there are strong indications that an emerging army of consumer protection groups are readying to take on the Big Tech firms over concerns about profiling consumers and using machines and algorithms to create a world where power is ever more concentrated in the hands of marketers and Big Tech firms.

Moreover, such customization and profiling can also be used for nefarious purposes wherein those who have access to such data can misuse that information as well as abuse their power.

Conclusion

On balance, it appears as though that the best thing for individuals to do online and on their Smartphones is to be careful about the Digital Footprints that they leave apart from reading the fine print as well as studying the privacy settings that are present on every website and app so that some control is exercised over personal information.

To conclude, we are on the cusp of a future that is both exciting and alarming and the way things play out between the marketers and the consumer groups would determine how the future of Digital Marketing would evolve.


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