Anil Sathe

12:57 PM, 3rd May 2018

Monetizing the customer: Where are we heading?

A recent story about a family in US read like this: A family of Husband, wife and young daughter started getting regularly information about pregnancy care, child birth and infant care…Alarmed the man went to the stores and complained about the same. Manager apologized and the same was stopped…Few months later when daughter admitted to pregnancy, parents were really confused about how the store could find this out in advance…Key was all about analyzing the visit of the girl to the stores in terms of products searched, areas visited, inquiries made and so on… This was shared with companies who make relevant products and thus began a targeted marketing…

I do not know whether this is true but clearly possible in near future considering the power of analytics and the way data can be shared with likely users…

Recently we saw lots of discussion about a leading company sharing data of their users and issues being raised about privacy of individuals

Data as competitive advantage:

Gone are the days when people used to see customer data only related to transactions and payments.  We are at the point where every payment portal, online stores, retail outlets, credit card companies and even various travel portals are generating huge amount of data about all customers….Many times without their knowledge as well.

Most companies use customer insights as way to achieve a successful CRM or customer experience program. Data is used to enhance customer experiences, improve service quality, target marketing efforts, capture customer sentiment, increase upsell opportunities and trigger product and service innovation.

According to Olive Huang, research director at Gartner, direct monetization of customer data, such as organizations exchanging information for goods and services, is as old as the grocery store loyalty card. It’s the increasing magnitude – greater volume, velocity and variety – of customer data that now presents organizations with new opportunities for monetization.

Options to monetize:

Loyalty cards: Practiced by many to track customer behavior in terms of items bought, frequency of visits, average billing…even choice of time to visit stores etc. So while customer may get a preferential treatment at stores, he /she is surrendering a lot of information about her buying behavior…..A relationship which is even today considered to be mutually beneficial.

Subscription: Advances in technology, a growing number of customer touchpoints and the amount of options in the market is producing savvier customers who demand more of the companies they do business with.

Subscription management isn’t all about recurring subscription transactions — it’s about a relationship with the customer. For example we choose various channels on TV and pay for what we choose. We are creating database of our choices and service provider collects this together to provide you necessary updates/changes/offers based on your choice.

Selling of data to likely users:  This clearly is a worrisome trend. To imagine that Facebook had to issue a statement about not disturbing elections gives us an idea of the power they have today and all because customers have shared an unbelievable amount of data with them already…

Many a times we see “free subscriptions” on many sites but at the time of registration plenty of information is asked. We can imagine where the cost of running such service is recovered from…

Concerns for individuals:

Have we lost the right to privacy or are very close to it? Are we getting influenced to the extent that we are becoming preprogrammed individuals? Is someone creating groups where none exists by way of differentiating on the basis on choices we make?

Friends, I have many more questions in my mind…

Your comments possibly can give some answers or at least the sense of direction we are heading in…

All comments / thoughts welcome…


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