04 Nov Social media enables marketing ‘by the numbers’ using new data models
The biggest byproduct of the world economy? Data. This makes it difficult to overlook the implications complex mathematical models have on being an effective marketer. The Numerati, by Stephen Baker, demonstrates the influences that powerful processors and piles of data have on understanding — and leveraging — human behavior in a data-driven society.
Less than a decade ago, people were uncomfortable sharing basic contact information. Today, via Google, Facebook, and other social networks, there are boundless levels of personal information available freely available on most individuals: who they are; what they like; and how they behave. Until recently, however, the ability to mine these ‘data piles’ for meaningful insights has been limited.
“The exploding world of data..is a giant laboratory of human behavior,” Baker writes. “The challenge ahead is to map not just our tastes and preferences but our shifting moods.”
Using predictive models that make computers 30,000 times more efficient than in the past, and vast amounts of data storage, predictive models are becoming increasingly accurate. In roughly 200 pages, Baker explores how data models refine the way mathematicians help oversee workers, influence shoppers, rally voters, understand bloggers, find terrorists, learn about patients and act as matchmaker.
Baker also explores how data models help companies identify and deal with ‘barnacles’ (consumers behave unprofitably) and ‘butterflies’ (consumers who are profitable, but unpredictable). Netflix, for examples, deals with its barnacles (members who watch too many movies to be profitable) by queuing their movie requests behind members who participate at a slower, more profitable pace.
While I wasn’t mesmerized by the book, I was intrigued by it. It’s a good exercise to consider how the social network profiles and conversations people have — and the ways they use Google to find information — may be used in the future to effectively micro-target consumers.
It’s both intriguing and creepy.
Welcome to the Grid
Only a year ago, the biggest challenge to monitoring individuals ‘on the grid’ accurately with technology was computing power. That obstacle is dissipating. Paranoid yet? If not, read books in the Fourth Realm Trilogy by John Twelve Hawks.
Recent columns by Troy Janisch
- Sweat and dollars: Strong social media programs grow in tight spaces
- Freeconomics: What a “Free”marketplace means to marketers
- Google Sidewiki: Website browsing with a side of chaotic insight
- Social media drives referrals and opportunities for B2B
- Influence and Money: The Whuffie Factor and social media
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