Minority Report Style Marketing – Creepy or Cool?

Minority Report Style Marketing – Creepy or Cool?
Kate Headen Waddell - Tue Oct 05, 2010 @ 02:40AM
Comments: 16

Minority Report MarketingI guess first I have to admit that I am a big sci-fi geek. Second I have to admit that I loved the movie “Minority Report” where Tom Cruise plays a pre-homicide detective in the not-too-distant-future. For those of you poor, unfortunate souls who haven’t seen the movie, there is a bit that always stuck with me. When ordinary folks are going about their ordinary business, they are constantly being retina-scanned – both by the police and by the Gap.

For the police, that means they can find you right away if they are looking for you. For the Gap (and other retailers) that means they can call out to you with very personalized messages while you are walking around the mall, like “Hey Tom Cruise! Are you enjoying those straight leg khakis you bought last month? Isn’t it time to stock up on boxer-briefs?”

As both a marketer and a sci-fi fan I thought that was pretty cool, but might get annoying after awhile. But I wasn’t prepared to have to figure that out any time soon. Until now.

The other day a work colleague was signed into LinkedIn and got served an ad from HP that said something like: “Kate, your network of trusted colleagues delivers surprising returns. Find out how.” It had a picture of a flat bed printer with her LinkedIn profile picture right on it.

Not quite Minority Report retinal-scan marketing, but definitely a step in that direction. As a social media marketing professional, my colleague found it interesting. I have to admit that my split-second gut reaction was that it was a little creepy, and seemed sort of invasive.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for the type of internet-based electronic marketing where they use some fancy algorithm to predict what sorts of things I might like to buy and then advertise them to me. I feel like it is actually doing me a service, and it beats the heck out of getting served a bunch of ads for stuff I could care less about.

But using my actual name and photo to get my attention? Let’s just say it worked. But how soon before I become completely numb to that approach too?

What do you think?

Is it creepy? Cool?

Is it a natural progression of data-based marketing?

Will you be using it soon?

How soon before people start ignoring it?

About the author: Kate Headen Waddell is a strategic copywriter specializing in web copy, white papers, case studies, solution briefs and other B2B marketing tools. You can visit her website at www.smartb2bmarcom.com.

Comments: 16


1. Jamie Lee Wallace  |  my website   |   Tue Oct 05, 2010 @ 03:20AM

Though I get the targeting, real-time benefits for marketing efforts, I definitely vote for creepy.

I think there's a place for that sort of customized content/outreach/ad, BUT I think there needs to be some level of opt-in/preferences management attached to it. As a content and social marketer, I'm a big defender of marketing that serves a purpose ... for the customer. I don't think it should be all about cramming your message down the prospect's throat, but I can see possibilities for delivering useful content at just the right moment based on minority report type tactics, IF (and this is a big IF), the user has somehow given permission ... raised her hand to get that content.

Just my two cents. ;)

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