Big Brother, Big Data – Potato-Poh-tah-to?

One of the cornerstones of an effective SoLoMo implementation is individual relevance.  Part of this is location relevance (don’t serve me a lunch offer when I am at the junkyard), but it also includes personal relevance (don’t serve me an offer for maternity clothes if I am a single 19 year old male in college).  The rub for most brands is how to achieve this relevance for your customers.  Enter Big Data.

A universe of seemingly unrelated data points leads to very interesting conclusions.  Target’s marketing to expectant mothers was in part based on their purchase of a particular lotion.  The computing power to combine all that data has been cost/resource prohibitive for most brands.  Today, cloud computing and rent-a-server services have brought this ability to many.

Your first concern in this area should be your data collection and sourcing practices.  Do you buy behavior tracking data from analytics providers?  Do you track your user’s behavior off your site?  What about their purchasing decisions in your stores and on your site?  It’s all available to you.

How do you explain all this to your customer so you avoid that creepy-line that I always talk about?  Like most privacy type discussions I think you start at the end (and future-proof as well) and work backwards.  Ask what you want to do and determine what data you need to support that.  If you want to provide timely advice to the homeowner regarding home maintenance items such as furnace filters, you need a few pieces of information.  You need to know what size the homeowner has, when they last replaced it, that they are in your store and communicate with their payment provider regarding any offers.  When you make that offer, I would also recommend putting some sort of modal bubble up which explains all that data behind the offer.

Using Big Data does run up against the creepy-line, or Big Brother as the post title suggests, for some consumers.  I think intuitively that this is a probably demographic break, but I also think that this is a break along technology users and non-users.  Another digital divide, if you will.  For those of us (even those who are a bit older) who regularly use technology we are probably a bit more open to data gathering.

I think there is a recurring theme around SoLoMo emerging here.  Put yourself in the shoes of your customers, fans, etc.  Look at it from their perspective, and look at it critically.  Just because you think it would be great to ping your fan when their gas tank is nearly empty with an offer for cheaper gas, is your user base ready for it.

Next Time on SoLoMo Law

This was a short post to start your weekend.  Next week I want to spend some time talking about alternative currencies and alternative payment systems and how they may be able to help you out in your SoLoMo offerings.

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