SXSW and the Focus on “Me”

by Net Future Institute on March 12, 2013

One of the themes we heard repeatedly by ad industry executives we interviewed at SXSW Interactive over the weekend was the focus on me.

Not technically me, me, but the idea of extreme personalization. Though I have to admit, interviewees talking about “me” while not referring to themselves took a bit of getting used to.

The commerce implication of this extreme personalization has to do with linking data and purchase behavior.

“This idea of me is very, very prevalent here at SX,” Catalina marketing head John Caron told the real me.

During the show, Catalina introduced technology to personalize ad content based on what you bought in a store. Other discussions at SXSW centered on customizing content based on what you’re about to do.

This reminds me of the predictive modeling technologies introduced in the relatively early days of the internet. The difference this time around is that location of an individual can be factored in, which can be very powerful.

I asked Caron if this might freak some people out and he suggested that not all mobile shoppers would participate.

“If you don’t want it, you don’t do it,” he said. “You allow apps to use your location because it gives you a better experience.”

The overall idea is that a large amount of mobile customer data and behavior is becoming available and marketers are designing ways to use that data to augment the customer experience, much of it at retail and on the fly.

Interestingly, the mobile shopping experience is becoming circular rather than linear. Past and future purchase information and behavior is being tied together in hopes of improving the customer experience.

Some will opt in for this, some obviously won’t. Will you?

  Chuck Martin is editor of mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk. He is author of “The Third Screen,” “The Smartphone Handbook,” and the soon-to-be-published “Mobile Influence.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and a frequent mobile keynote speaker around the globe.

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