Big Data & Relationships

How does Netflix market to you? In an article in Fortune magazine, the vice-president of product for Netflix highlighted a growing perspective on the limitations of demographics and focused instead on taste and interests:

“Geography, age, and gender? We put that in the garbage heap,” VP of product Todd Yellin said. Instead, viewers are grouped into “clusters” almost exclusively by common taste, and their Netflix homepages highlight the relatively small slice of content that matches their taste profile. Those profiles could be the same for someone in New Orleans as someone in New Delhi (though they would likely have access to very different libraries).

The author goes on to write:

In the era of big data, consumer profiling can’t rely on broad categories like race or location. To target the customers who want what you’re offering, you have to get past the surface and see what really makes them tick.

This is possible because of the data Netflix amasses on what we watch. Most of us have become comfortable with this product-focused use of our digital footprint: search engines track what we’ve searched for, social media sites advertise to us based on our posts, etc. The idea that a company or large entity know what we’re doing seems ok, and some consumers understand they are being nudged into buying decisions.

Establishing a professional or personal relationship using this same type of “Big Data” might prove a bit more difficult. The creepiness factor, alluded to in this Deloitte Australia piece, leaves much to be desired when considering Big Data in establishing trust and rapport. Big Data may have identified someone who wants your services but will not solidify that relationship.

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