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What Is Your Personal Data Worth? Discussion On Behavioral Targeting

It’s no surprise that advertisers are learning more and more about our daily digital behaviors. The more we consume, the more they know. From our shoe size to cocktail preference to favorite skin cream brand, our preferences and opinions are very important to advertisers who want to know about our routines to offer deals and incentives, which help entice us to buy more and become loyal.

Typical desired demographic information has surpassed gender, age, and income level, and now includes millions of details about our personal tastes, values, opinions, habits, and specific routines. Not only can advertisers generally target us, they can take advantage of GPS, ble beacons and other location-aware and time-aware services that know where we are, and when. Giving them the ability to know we are in a specific coffee shop — about to buy a coffee and cookie, which is something we do everyday at 3 p.m. — leads to a new level of present-moment digital advertising.

Personal data and its value

So, what is your personal information worth? There is much coverage on the topic; there are even a few calculators to help us tabulate our own personal number. It’s been reported that knowledge of our marital status is worth a penny, and our annual income, 2 cents.

Data equals value. So who gets the value?

I believe it’s a bigger idea than that. It’s a big shift into a new economy. We’re talking about digital, real-time transactions that offer value to consumers; giving advertisers the ability to communicate to shoppers while they live their lives, which actually may be more attractive to consumers than it is to advertisers. After all, we want services, and, in many cases, we don’t want to pay cash for them. We want to receive value from advertisers, and we want the value to keep coming.

Smart brands and retail marketers know we live in a present-moment society. People want what they want when they want it. And, I believe, we consumers are willing to give away a little personal information in order to get a great deal.

In a world of open sharing, liking, checking in, and making it known that we’re shopping and dining, tied to the fact that we’re carrying the details of our lives in our cell phones, we also want to hear from our favorite brands and stores only when it is convenient for us. And, actually, advertisers want the same – they want to effectively reach us precisely when we are ready to hear from them.

It’s the shift in the economy, the Personal Experience Economy, and it’s the deal we’re making with our information openness in order to get free stuff and good deals. Smart marketers, like those from Starbucks, Walgreens, and the world’s leading convenience store, are already reaching consumers where they are. And, consumers, having strongly voiced their desire to receive communications on mobile, are embracing the new economy.


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