Understanding data driven marketing

Posted by Communique at 9:16 AM on Aug 13, 2019

In one of our Tech Tree blogs on AI, the subject of ‘big data’ was brought up – this elusive term for information as a form of influence or currency. Despite it being essential to the development of machine-learning and other technology, it also plays a key role in today’s marketing. The internet as a system has made it generally easier and far more lucrative for marketers to find out everything they need to know about you. It no longer relies of telemarketing callers, or getting sent surveys in the mail to fill out, it’s far more subtle than that.

One of the most noticeable elements of online data collection is related to website cookies: these are small data packets stored on your computer from a specific website you visit, and their intention is usually to save your browsing information for useful recollections or general convenience of that website (e.g. your login details, forms filled, shopping cart, etc.). Normally, website cookies were unnoticed by most internet users as thing until the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation Law in 2018 that required most websites to ask permission from the user before they were allowed to store such cookies on your computer. Regardless of your permission, if you want the benefits of the website’s convenience, it usually means accepting these cookies. Now in terms of scope, it seems small and arbitrary, but it’s important to realise just how many websites you are going to be visiting and storing cookies from over your lifetime.

That was just an example of independent sites collecting data for the explicit reason of their website’s services. Now imagine how much data a tech giant like Google has on you. Well, in fact you don’t have to imagine: you can actually request to download the data Google has stored of you. The chances are it will be a lot – if you are a frequent user of social media such as Facebook or Twitter, they will also have plenty of information stored about you. If you have ever considered why so many online advertisements feel so eerily catered towards your interest, you may begin to understand how.

This write up is not a scaremongering attack on the idea of ‘big data’ or technological marketing, but rather on how useful information really is. If you are in a position where you’re sitting on a goldmine of accumulated data such as Email contact lists, survey results, social media feedback or even personal communication, it can most certainly be utilized for promotion.