When does marketing get too personal?

Never before have so many people shared so much information about themselves, and most with so little concern for their own privacy, handing out essential information often in return for free access to services or goods.

It must have only been a generation ago were we kept all basic information tight to our chest! I know my grandma still operates in that way, refusing to give out any card details. However when signing up on social media sites we willingly share our birthdate, favorite pets, movies, and other information required by online services, without thinking twice. And before we know it we will be receiving email, of the latest movie releases in our favourite genres wondering how they got to know us so well.

These days all the bits of information we leave behind  is digitalized and available ready to be packed up and sold to companies. Many of us settle with the fact that its what you have to trade in to be able to access certain parts of the digital world. The concern is however more on the information we give away daily without even being aware. Essential information are given out through our loyalty cards at the grocer, that are used by the retailer to create flyers fitting your personal needs. I think by now were all aware of the incident when Target discovered a girl was pregnant before her parents even knew..!

This market of new parents are infact a retailer’s holy grail! And has become a huge focus for the marketers of huge chains such as target.Why such a huge focus on this market you say? A marketer working for target explains that there are some periods in a person’s life when old routines fall apart and buying habits are suddenly in changing. One of those moments is right around when parent are expecting a child, and are overwhelmed by the latter. This is when their shopping patterns and loyalties are up for grabs. Timing is therefore everything.

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Due the fact that most birth records are public, the moment a couple have a baby, they are receiving offers from all sorts of companies. Therefore the key is to reach them at an  earlier stage. Therefore the statisticians working for target, focuses mainly on the shopping behavioural of women between the age of say 18-40, to try figure out if they are expecting. This is most obvious in their second trimester, which is when most expectant mothers begin buying new items such as maternity clothing vitamins and so on. Marketers working for target states that soon they we’ll be sending you coupons for things you want before you even know you want them.”

I personally find this all a bit invading and overwhelming, however as a consumer I also see the benefit of targeted advertisement. What do you guys think?


One thought on “When does marketing get too personal?

  1. This is a very inserting example of how big business, is with us though out our day to day lives, with out us really even knowing it! The Target example is almost unbelievable …personally i shared this story with my mum and she just could not comprehend how they did it …I kept saying ‘mum through those discount store cards you use’ …I guess her answer was similar to others, ah well i have nothing to hide. I guess she has a point, or does she? I am on the other side of the fence, i don’t like what information is being shared, and fear people are not really understanding the depth and complexity of how much information is being stored and collated on us!

    Eventually, i believe that enough will be enough and there will be a braking point whereby people will come to there sense and begin using such open source VPN’s, such as Tor. Or more so, actually account for a VPN expense within their budgets.


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