Because you’re worth it (and your personal data proves it)

Something earned is something appreciated. In the age of personal data it is easier to be rewarded because we can prove how much we’ve earned it. That creates a really great opportunity for marketing directors.

More personal data is available to individuals than ever before. Companies are starting to make the data they hold on their customers available to those individuals as a way of engaging them. Also, the number of products that we own which are sensor embedded will increase. Our glasses, shirts, shoes, wrist watches, phones, glasses and many other items will collect data about even our most mundane activities.

It can be fun to analyse our own personal data but it would be even more fun (and engaging) to be rewarded for doing things well. Step up our creative marketeer!

One type of reward might be the simple satisfaction of beating someone else. The Opower energy app in the US is the result of collaboration between Facebook, the Natural Resources Defense Council and 16 US based utility companies. The app allows users to ‘play’ against their neighbours to see who can be the most energy efficient. A boring task like setting the central heating timer becomes part of a grand gaming strategy.

Another reward might be membership of an exclusive club. A mustard company called Grey Poupon has created a Society of Good Taste which only accepts people whose personal data shows a high level of cultural refinement. This might include the shows and exhibitions they’ve visited, books they’ve bought, their restaurant check-ins as well as their use of grammar. The reward is acceptance.

Rewards might equally be actual products and deals. Pharmacy chain Walgreens has a programme which allows customers to synch their fitness devices with Walgreens. Walgreens then monitor the miles run and whether people have achieved their fitness goals. Achievements are turned into reward points that can be used against purchases at Walgreens.

Such use of data is an amazing opportunity for brands who try hard to tell consumers that they are “worth it” or “deserve it”. Now they can prove it. Marketers would do well to look out for personal data apps being launched by developers who have created them simply because they can. They might stimulate ideas for creative advertising solutions or reward schemes that are original and compelling.

A saucy example is an app called Spreadsheets. Their website says, “Spreadsheets monitors data from user’s movement and audio levels through the accelerometer and microphone [of the smartphone] to provide statistical and visual analysis of their performance in bed”. It monitors how loud the users are, duration, regularity and, ahem, thrusts! They are quick to point out that the camera is not used in any way at all as “that would be creepy”. Equally weird is the explanation on YouTube that the app is a good way to “increase intimacy, strive for improvement or just break the ice”. Break the ice! Nevertheless, the app has been deemed decent enough to get past the puritanical censors at Apple. It might still be a brave marketer who uses this app in a promotion or reward scheme – unless you work for Durex, of course. In which case, it’s a no brainer.

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