Immanuel Kant told us, around the end of the XVIIIth century, that each of us experiences a different reality – partly created by our own minds, thus supremely different from another’s. In fact, our inner worlds are exactly the reason we are able to create art, make discoveries or love. We are unique because we live in one-of-a-kind realities, the glimpse of which become visible only in what we let escape outside of them.
Perhaps as a way of evading from it, we used technology to cast a fine layer upon reality and build, in a very short time, an alternate universe – incredibly complex and at times more real than our real world. It was only a question of when until the very young, digital realm would become shaped to our own perceptions of reality, online or offline.
We can see proof of it everywhere: our Facebook timeline or Instagram feed, the online newspapers we read every morning, even Google, they all show us what we want to see – they have come to understand who we are based on what we like, share, search or buy. In other words, all actions we perform, from the moment we turn our computers on or check our phones (and lately, even before and after) become crumbs of information that so precisely point in our direction.
Data has become the elephant in the marketing room: too powerful to ignore, it is now the key differentiator in digital marketing.
So it’s probably safe to say that today we live in a 60’s adman most desired dream: a world in which we get to know our customers more than at any given point in the history of advertising. The problem is, with increasingly more data available, we face a proportionally rising tendency to keep an eye on them wherever they are, in our quest to become the answer to any desire they may have.
Reinforcing their own beliefs and realities, personalization empowers consumers and teaches them to expect everything ready at a single click. At the same time, it is a powerful, yet double-edged sword in the hands of marketers. While it can be extremely beneficial punctually, on the long term, personalization – taken inevitably one step too far – can turn online reality into an echo chamber.
Today we have access to the most powerful tool marketing has ever had – Private Data – which we can use to personalize our approach to the lives and personalities of consumers. However, we still have to figure out how to be smart about it – as we’ve barely begun to find out, there’s a fine line between personal and too personal. Cristian MIHAI – STRATEGAD.