Thursday, June 19, 2014

Would you be interested in our special sale?

(Looks like I never sent this out today.)
Suppose I study gait and find it tells me about your bank acct. or your sexuality.  Suppose I collect all that info?  Violation?
Many marketers dream of perfect information.  I guess Amazon is getting close enough that they expect to be able to send items to customers before people order them.  That is how well Amazon expects to be able to predict what people will order.

I saw a snip on tv quite a while ago, maybe five years, where some store or other found a strong correlation between items most people would not expect to be connected.  Still the store told its phone operators that anyone who orders items A and B, which were not themselves similar (say, birdseed and band-aids) should be explicitly offered item C, say, specially priced ringtones for cellphones.  The store computers watched and when A and B were entered for the same customers, a quick reminder for the operator told her to mention the ringtone sale.  There might be no underlying reason why these items were connected and a month from now, they might not be.  But, now they were and operators were surprised at how often A+B = C.  

These surprising connections might spring up in unrelated areas.  Suppose I study gait, or eye movement or body movement within 10 seconds of sitting down.  Maybe I find a strong correlation between crossing ankles and money problems or interest in church politics.  Maybe I find a strong correlation between the strategies people use in the computer/electronic game and their position on gay rights or support for public education.  I might be able to increase the success rate of sales or persuasive materials importantly using that discovered relation.  In many activities, I wouldn't need too much of an improvement to beat out the competition.

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