The consumer profiling battle…we are being watched

 

This week I became full indoctrinated with the Apple iCloud. While I have become a serious Apple follower – I am typing on my MacBook Pro, my smartphone is an iPhone, my tablet an iPad and I have my iPod plugged into my car. This is nothing short of a minor miracle since 15 years ago I vowed I would never purchase an Apple product…oops. Now I am leveraging iCloud to keep my contacts, my calendar and back up my pictures.

What I realized is we are in the midst of a fresh battle amongst the technology giants. A battle for how to get to our information, how to leverage connectivity (aka the cloud and mobility) to better profile us. And with better profiles more effective marketing and selling. Here is how I see it:

  • Apple – with the iCloud, coupled with all the devices Apple has seeded into our lives they are storing and have access to our music, movie, television and podcast preferences. Apple can also understand what electronic tools we use with our devices: are we using a lot of photo apps? Or when someone is downloading apps to understand when it is best to get pregnant. Or that someone is leveraging travel apps…the list goes on. Apple is learning about profiling us through our devices.
  • Facebook – clearly the social giant is looking to gain and map all our social activities. Who are our friends, who are our “close friends” … still not sure what that is all about. They encourage us to tell Facebook who is in our family, what their relationship is, who we are married to, separated from, divorced from or “it is complicated” with…They are now becoming a massive photo repository, encouraging us to “tag” those in the pictures with us – data that can help establish who is in our network and who we have influence with and who might influence us. Facebook is profiling us by encouraging us to profile ourselves through the desire to share with our network.
  • Google. The search giant first and foremost is able to track what we search for, but now with their other assets they can profile us via our Gmail account, or google talk, or Google + oh wait no uses that…Google wants to be able to index every piece of information that is out there. So they can better understand how we use that information and make better advertisement and marketing pushes!
  • Amazon. Yes that old CD and Book seller is a real power when it comes to understanding our behaviors. They do a wonderful job understanding our buying behaviors and how to up-sell us. With the likes of Kindle, they can also understand what we read. As they encourage us to “showroom” with brick and mortar retailers and then use the Amazon app to see how much less expensive it is on their site. The information they are gathering is gold as it is real time sale and demand data – think of the “wish list” function.

These are just a few examples, but clearly there is a battle for who can best profile us. Which tech player or which industry (banks, insurance, grocery stores…) do a better job profiling us?

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