We know that technology advancement is never stagnant. It is an ever-changing continuum of bigger, better, and faster ways of doing things. If we let it, (and let’s be real, most of us do!) technology touches virtually every aspect of our lives. And so it stands to reason that it also has its way with the dynamic of business and consumer interaction.
We Do Love Our Technology, Don’t We?
Most of the time, we love it when technology steps in and changes the way we do things. For instance, shoppers enjoy the convenience of avoiding checkout lines by making their purchase directly with the salesperson via a handheld tablet equipped with a credit card reader. We are also impressed with the increasingly fast speed of wireless internet technology that enables us to work virtually anywhere. But when it comes to big data, many cringe when they find out just how much information a business is privy to these days that they can use to target you for marketing.
How Does the use of Big Data Affect Me?
You have probably either heard the term “big data” before or are familiar with the definition without really knowing what it’s called. Let’s connect the two real quick with a very well-known example. Google and Facebook are both known to use your web traffic to serve you ads based on your interests which they determine by analyzing your browsing history and social media activity. If you are shopping around for shoes one day, you may notice ads for a shoe store pop up in your Facebook feed!
That’s a Little Freaky, though, right?
These are the cases when the “big data phenomenon” begins to freak people out. That perfect strangers, many from large powerful companies, can track your behavior patterns and use it for their profit generally does not sit well with people. And if you are the company using the data, you may feel like you are invading the privacy of people of whom you are trying to win their trust. But let’s go back a decade or so. Haven’t marketers tracked and analyzed consumer behavior for awhile now? The answer is yes. Marketers have employed various methods to gather this information for many years. Whether they used surveys or bingo cards (the cards at the back of a magazine you fill out for more information) or telemarketers, this data has been extracted in some form or fashion. Perhaps the speed and ease at which it can be done is different, but the goal was always the same. To deliver a message related to their product or service to those that are interested in them.
Consider it an all around Victory
While there are certainly dangers in the wrong people having access to your information, most businesses use big data for a win-win outcome. By marketing to an audience that is interested in their products and services, they are providing you with the information you were looking for anyway and simply making the possibility of a transaction more likely. You win because you don’t have to spend hours and hours searching for a good shoe retailer and they win because they found the Cinderella who is a perfect fit for their shoes!