Shopper Beware: How Big Data Moves Buyer Beware Down Funnel

Both Grant Cardone’s book, “Sell or Be Sold” and Daniel Pink’s book, “To Sell is Human” remind me of the idea that sharing an idea or concept involves selling.

On the sales front, OTT may arguably be the word of the year for sales and marketing professionals. Other nominees include Digital Retailing and Actionable Analytics. Previous winners for marketing phrases of the year include “selfie”, “programmatic” and “QR Codes”, but I digress.

Let’s take on OTT for a moment and consider how it influences industries and consumers alike. In recent meetings with various OTT vendors, I find they speak more and more of one-to-one modeling. In a related way, direct mail and e-mail companies are offering up an IP address that follows through down to specific households in order to complement their direct mail efforts.

AT&T U-verse for example--through the combination of set-top box data from cable and phone information--pretty much has a data warehouse of intelligence. And they are promoting one-to-one advertising. I just wonder how that works out though? Let’s say AT&T signs national deals with Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota. Meanwhile, a consumer—based on these HOT new statistical models—comes in and identifies a consumer as an SUV buyer.

What’s next?

Do we end up with a Ford SUV spot, a Toyota SUV spot and a Chevrolet SUV spot all in the same two-minute break? 8 times a day for the next 90 days. Shopper Beware. Shopper Beware for certain.

Also, how do we keep this accountable from an advertising perspective? Reporting from AT&T could be the answer, but in terms of more accountable media enterprises—think AC Nielsen or RL Polk for a moment--those business models are being replaced by real-time, one-to-one promises.

The vertical integration of phone companies into the advertising space is exciting from a data perspective and simultaneously just a little bit disconcerting. Be wary of the false promise, the quick wedding and the low levels of accountability inherent to this promise. It doesn’t much sound like a match made in heaven when the outcome portends to bombard the ultimate buyer with more bottom of the funnel advertising than they could reasonably stand.

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