I saw a great blog last week from a traditional advertising agency that was marveling over IP tracking as the next big thing to come down the marketing trail. With so many traditional agencies still unable to grasp web's true potential from either the design, usability or functionality standpoint (one of Milwaukee's largest agencies still has a Flash-based website. Seriously), it’s great to see a local agency that at least gets that. The author went on to express eagerness to see the next greatest technology.
But the next great technology is already here.
Big Data will be the next step in the death of the traditional marketing funnel. Even more Big Brotherish than IP targeting, Big Data is scary to some, but incredibly powerful for others. By merging multiple large consumer databases, and data gelened from Social Media and other public information websites, larger companies (and national political campaigns) are gaining access not only to a person’s internet habits, but also cross tabbing that with people's grocery buying habits, current home improvement projects, vacation plans, favorite genres of movies, preferred restaurants, political and religious affiliation, the number, type and names of pets, the route they take to work (and how they get there), ideological motivators for when, where, how and WHY they (we) are making buying decisions, as well as getting visibility on predictive behavior based on buying decision of others who match their total consumer profile.
Bank of American, Home Depot, Intuit, The Obama Presidential Campaign are the early adopters, but, as the price of storage and processing power continue to decrease, and merged big databases become more available the technology will continue to work its way down to the realm of medium sized businesses.
Scary, but it’s coming, ready or not.