You go to Macys.com and you see baby clothes prominently featured on the homepage. You sign up for the newsletter that promises daily special deals on baby clothes and toys. It is a no-brainer, your first child is on the way.
Macy’s newsletter arrives in your inbox promptly at 5:55 AM every morning, just as you sit down with coffee and fire up your email. On Fridays, it arrives at 6:30 AM. You always sleep in a little on Friday.
On Saturday, you walk into your local furniture for the nursery. On Monday, you notice a crib in the sidebar of your Macy’s email.
Across town, your friend receives an email from Macy’s at 8:25 AM. Well timed, it arrives as she sits down in the office to check personal email before the real work day begins.
With new advances in marketing technology, tailored marketing campaigns like this are around the corner. The experience outlined requires just three data sources; two of them are available today, the last one is being developed.
1. Showing the Right Offer
Information about your online behaviors and interests are widely available today. They are developed based on the pages you visit and the forms you fill out.
For B2B Marketing
For B2B marketers, Bizo provides information on the likely role and level of seniority of a visitor as well as industry and company size. Demandbase provides the specific company and company information. Based on company information, installed hardware/software and purchase plans are available from providers like Harte Hanks.
2. Timing Email Delivery
Numerous studies have looked at the best time to send email. In a far more interesting new offering from Epsilon, marketers will be able to deliver email to each individual at the best time. They are aggregating information about each email address from multiple marketers, so even if you have never emailed the address before, Epsilon will still be able to determine the best time to send the email.
[Epsilon's press release is here]
For B2B Marketing
Although Epsilon’s offerings are definitely designed today for consumer marketers, since so many people mix personal and professional correspondence in an email account (just take note of the number of non-corporate accounts used to sign up for professional information), I would expect this information to be valuable to B2B marketers today as well.
3. Linking Offline Activity Back to Online
Facial recognition is one of the emerging technologies that will impact marketing. Imagine if the stores and products you browse offline was available to target marketing, just like the online browsing is today?
For B2B Marketing
What if Staples or Office Depot could identify regular in-store visitors that may be business customers? If information is available publicly, even in aggregate, it would be possible to identify and target frequent business travelers of other airlines, attendees of major conferences or even infrequent visitors to competitor’s office buildings.
The potential for marketing to be one-to-one and extremely relevant is improving every year. Today’s possibilities are amazing and maybe a little bit scary.
These possibilities raise a moral and ethical question for some: is it right for companies to glean more and more information about you to get you to buy their products? If so, how far is too far?
Share your reaction in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).
Photo Credit: Terminal by Photo Extremist