Sometimes, Big Data just does not seem to be that – well – big yet. Dutch bank ING recently announced to start a pilot in which it will share payment information of customers with selected companies, so that they can push targeted advertising and offerings. And although the bank emphasizes that it is only planning a pilot – with volunteering customers and a future scenario that will be exclusively opt-in – social media exploded the very same day. It was almost ironic to see the Dutch, famous for the biggest, most open living room windows in the world, getting so agitated about a potential violation of their privacy rights.
But it’s understandable too.
To a consumer, there is a very delicate balance between being on the receiving end of that multi-channel, digitally enabled, highly individualized customer experience we all like to envision and the simple, basic right of privacy. Should we love it when shop personnel immediately recognize us the moment we enter their store again, or might we feel irritated because we feel being monitored and analysed?
It directly relates to two crucial building blocks in our 2014 TechnoVision.
Yes, social is the new oil and sooner or later, organizations need to refine all that external and internal data to get better connected to their customers. If they can second-guess the intent of an individual customer – or even better, a demographic – and tailor the customer experience accordingly, that would make a real difference.
But customers quickly start to realize their profile is the new currency: the more data they provide, the easier it is to target them – or their demographic – from a marketing and sales perspective. An individual’s profile data thus is highly valuable, not only to the organization holding it, but also to other organizations it could be selling it to. It raises the question about whom customers trust when sharing their profile data and what is acceptable to them in terms of how that data is being used.
It might all be a matter of offering the right business case to customers – banks providing opt-in, freemium accounts for example – and providing an abundance of transparency.
Much like these Dutch windows, come to think of it.