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Birds of a Feather Redefined

Before social media, when transparency was considerably less in vogue, aquiring new customers and serving the needs of loyal already existing customers was not an easy feat and there certainly were not many options for conquering this feat. In order to aid this process, marketers formulated methods such as segementation, and even sub-segmentation to narrow down their target audiences and best utilize resources. In order to most accurately identify segements within the population, different software tools became imperative so a business was not aiming blind-folded. Software tools identifying different geodemographics became a necessity, clustering people with the same zip code or census blocks into a segment. The premise of this segmentation was that people who live near each other are like “birds of a feather” having similar needs and wants. A marketing campaign was devised, and different flocks were targeted.

Now, consider I am the maker of Pert Plus. Recently (true story), I tweeted that while each morning I have many choices of shampoo to pick from, I continuously keep coming back to Pert Plus. Within 45 minutes, Pert Plus was following me. Now, consider what this means for Pert Plus.

A) they know that I am a loyal consumer of their product
B) they know I am female
C) they know that I am probably in the age range of 20-40 (from my picture, or elsewhere)
D) they know something about my general likings/dislikings from which info can be extrapolated
E) they know whatever else my bio highlights

…the list keeps going on depending on how much mining and interpretation you can do.

The same goes for Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

I am the Marketing Manager for Computech, an IT firm. While we do not sell a product targeting consumers, knowing our customer is still just as important (whether it is an agency we are contracting with, or a potential new employee that will make us more robust). As the following grows, learning how to engage with the listening ears, asking questions, responding to questions, and in turn redefining/refining a better service, experience, outcome seems to be a social media path worth forging.

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Allen Sheaprd

There was a special on NOVA in the late 80’s by a reporter who moved from NY to LA. He went to LA for three weeks to find an apartment. Found one and then went back to NY to get everthing. When he returned he was amazed at the junk mail. Remeber junk mail?

Well it sparked his report mind to look into it. Turns out that without knowing anyone he picked an apartment that he liked and shed his privacy. People in that apartment area where 25 to 40, 2 kids, no pets, used bicycles, ate gronla and drank Hill Brothers coffee. He and his wife where very similar to their neighbors.

One issue that has come up is – if companies want this info can I not sell it or at least see who has it?

Arlena Boxton

I do quite a bit of shopping online and have mixed feelings about it: it’s great when you wait until the last minute to do Christmas or birthday shopping – you can find the perfect gift and have it gift-wrapped, send a card along with it, and ship it with a few clicks. The flip side of that is once you’ve shopped there, this particular online store – Amazon.com comes to mind – now is tracking all of the pages/products you viewed, products you ultimately bought, how much you spent and detected any shopping “patterns,” so the next time you visit they can recommend items in your price range which you might be enticed to buy. Based on past purchases I get my “personalized recommendations” page when I login –

1. Small dog sweaters and assorted clothes, ALL for girl dogs and mostly in pink (I sent a pink doggie sweater to my sister for her pug puppy for Christmas)
2. Various computer books, and books about technology
3. Books about how to deal with and lead change in your organization (3 years ago I purchased several copies of “Who Moved My Cheese” from Amazon to help staff deal with upcoming changes)
4. Mystery Science 3000 Collection Vol 4 (I purchased vols 1-3 a few years ago)
5. Looney Tunes Golden Collection (3 years ago I was into old cartoon DVDs)

I can even join an Amazon “community” if I like so that I can share ideas and discuss my interests and purchases with other customers. I don’t know how anyone who has any kind of web presence maintains their privacy any more, particularly if they are not savvy about things, e.g. privacy settings on Facebook where you can set your profile to be unsearchable on the internet.

Although I have mixed feelings I find online shopping to be SO convenient. I’ve branched out to buying shoes at sites like zappos.com, where they make returns so easy. It’s amazing. I don’t have any idea what the impact has been on brick and mortar retailers but it has to be huge. The only time I go into a bookstore now is when I want the book “right now,” or just for the “nostalgic experience” of leisurely browsing.

Hmmm…I wonder what kind of impact the Kindle and other readers are having on book store sales?

Allen Sheaprd

Arlena, Lauren,

How much privacy do we want to have?

Do we want companies to have a list of what we have bought for the past 5, 10, 15 years?

Should the government also have this list?