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Google, The Matrix and Getting Personal

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by: John Watton (@jwatton)
09 July 2013

I read a really interesting article in The Guardian recently that asked us to stop thinking of Google+ as yet another social network and instead look at it as The Matrix of the Internet. Having a G+ account is not about participating in the G+ community, it’s about having a passport that gets stamped every time you cross the borders of content, data and interactions. Watch a YouTube video, ask directions on a Google map, click on a search result or open a Gmail message and all of these interactions are recorded and used to better personalise your Google-based experiences.

Of course, the jury is out on whether this is a good or bad thing. We continue to tread the line between wanting better experiences and not wanting to have our privacy invaded. But the future is inevitable — we will get more unique interactions from brands. Consumer demand is too strong.

I, like many, am fed up with the impersonal, irrelevant and downright annoying content shoved in my digital face on a daily basis. I've also posted before about the woeful lack of personalisation from companies such as Apple — especially when I've thrown my heart, soul and wallet into becoming a loyal customer. The antidote to this impersonal messaging is behavioural marketing — brands tailoring the experience within their Web, email, social and mobile assets to hopefully make the consumer experience just a little less frustrating and, dare I say it, enjoyable.

And it doesn't have to Big Brother/Borg/Vogon-like either. You have enough explicit information about your customers and prospects to personalise your marketing today, without the need for covert operations. Consider the wealth of behavioural data you have access to already:

  • Email: opens, click-throughs, time of day preferred, device used
  • Web: views, downloads, visit history, device used (again)
  • Social: likes, shares, posts/comments
  • Ecommerce: cart abandonment, items purchased, previous purchases
  • CRM: customer segment, age, marital status, location, preferences
  • And many more …

Personally, I welcome anything that helps to ease my digital day. Even if we tag it as something as menacing as The Matrix. Few digital communications, for example, could be more gratefully received then the recent personalised Google Doodle (see below) I received on my birthday wishing me a Happy Birthday. As I've always said, it's the little things ...

Birthday Google Doodle 

Related Resources:
1) White Paper: “20 Ways to Personalize Content and Enhance the Customer Experience
2) Blog: “Get Personal: Make Your Marketing More ‘Bobular’
3) Blog: “Universal Behaviors: What It Means for Marketers and the Customer Experience


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