David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of the Webby Awards, is heading up a year-round, worldwide tour called “Webby Talks,” where interested and involved media groups can invite his insights into their venue. The presentation he delivered at Pereira & O’Dell in San Francisco gave a glimpse into the status of internet privacy with a marketing/advertising perspective to favor the audience in attendance.
You may or may not be following the work of the folks at the Webby Awards, but they’re certainly keeping busy outside of their much-hyped annual Webby Awards event that honors outstanding achievement online.
David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of the Webby Awards, is heading up a year-round, worldwide tour called “Webby Talks,” where interested and involved media groups can invite his insights into their venue (see the Webby Talks discussion from January: Webby Talks Track New Digital Trends). The presentation he delivered at Pereira & O’Dell in San Francisco last night gave a glimpse into the status of internet privacy with a marketing/advertising perspective to favor the audience in attendance.
Trivial Information Isn't So Trivial
The thesis of Mr. Davies’ presentation concerned the accumulation of trivial information across internet channels and how it’s used. We’re all aware that online shopping sites are gathering information about our preferences as we browse and make purchases. The interesting next step is when they reference your preferences and basic information across major amounts of data to produce extremely precise calculations about who you are. Their calculations funnel you right down to a specific demographic: gender, age, location, income and more.
The now-famous anecdote about Target’s unsettlingly accurate predictions inevitably came up. If you don’t remember, Target was able to determine that a young girl was pregnant and began marketing her relevant products, thus breaking the news to the young girl’s father via shopping catalogs.
The methods of analyzing and utilizing data become even more powerful and precise when they’re funneled through big data companies and third party advertisers. The fact is, major companies like Target know what we want before we want it, and they have to pull in the reins on that information in order to keep you from, as Davies puts it, “freaking out.”
Don't Freak Out
We’re all expecting a certain amount of our online experience to be catered and curated. It isn’t a shock when Amazon recommends movies similar to ones that we just bought; in fact, it's welcome. It is a little unsettling, though, when they can statistically determine that we might get a cold (check out Google’s Flu Trends -- creepy stuff) or when they know things we haven’t even told our closest friends and family.
For Davies, the successful e-commerce and marketing structures of the future will be the ones who know how to make effective use of the limitless fields of data while incorporating the expectations of consumers. They will either effectively manage your expectations or thoroughly understand them. Like Target, they will possess the tools to know exactly how to sell to you, but will be able to do so with subtle and noninvasive methods. In broad terms, that would seem be an ideal solution for both the consumer and the marketer, albeit one that lacks any real guidelines.