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Don’t target me, ask me

Posted on: Tuesday 24th of July 2012

We’ve been pondering some mega-trends on this site for some while.

1. The rise in the volumes of data available (so called Big Data).

2. The lack of efficiency in the advertising model.

3. How technology is now literally in the hands of the customer.

Each is a driver of change and combined they create a massive opportunity for a re-alignment of the relationship between buyers and sellers. Understanding how to illicit and use Volunteered Personal Information (VPI) is at the heart of being able to do this. But in order for the far reaching opportunities of VPI to be realised, people have to take time to contribute their data. If there aren’t any apparent benefits in time saving, making a better decision, gaining new insights about themselves, or a financial incentive, they simply won’t bother. This has driven suppliers to offer just such incentives, either saving customers time when searching for goods or as a special voucher or discount.

We’ve just finished some research looking at a group of services that that use VPI to provide relevant content – offers, recommendations and adverts. In our study, sponsored by nFluence Media, three new services, VisualDNA, Dealboard and Hunch, were stacked up against loyalty schemes, global brands like Amazon, Facebook and Google, and a browser based ad network, Bluekai. They were assessed by a panel and we analysed the results against four dimensions: Transparency; Access; Control; and Trust.

Guess what? The services we looked at did better on these measures than more traditional means of serving content – using browsing and buying histories. It led us to suggest the report title – “Don’t target me, ask me”. But perhaps, as importantly, the research revealed that making these services engaging, rewarding and fun had an unexpected bonus – helping the consumer better understand themselves. This is a powerful and alluring capability which will encourage people to volunteer their information – with a win win outcome for everyone involved.  To read in full, click here for the Dont Target Me Ask Me Report.