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January 24, 2014

Big Data May Not Be Such a Big Deal

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How Much Marketers Actually Know

By Rachel Anderson
People often joke about their concerns with how much marketers know about them. Favorite colors, credit card numbers, names of children… But for all the hype, they might actually not know much at all.

Acxiom, a data, analytics and software service many big companies use launched a website late last year called AboutTheData.com. The site is meant to help consumers understand what data is being collected on them and how it is used. One cool feature of the site allows visitors to add some of their information in order to discover what marketers “know” about them. It’s a clever way for Acxiom to bolster up its data but also very interesting to see what your marketing profile looks like.

I went on and tried it myself. According to Acxiom I am a 24-year-old home-owning Windows user who has lived in Idaho for over 14 years. Just one of those is true…and it’s the information I entered to see the data (my birthdate).

However much of the information I found was more or less accurate. I do donate to charitable causes and like to purchase online. With all the data they have on me it’s surprising that I don’t see a little more targeted marketing come my way.

Recently my husband and I have been frequenting Craigslist, Auto Trader and many car dealership’s website looking for another vehicle. With all that time spent looking at and comparing cars, we have yet to see an ad related to this obvious buyer intent.
Screen-shot-2014-01-20-at-3.42.42-PMAcxiom warns that,

Opting out of Acxiom’s online and/or offline marketing data will not prevent you from receiving marketing materials. Instead of receiving ads that are relevant to your interests, you will see more generic ads with no information to tailor content. For example, instead of getting a great offer on a hotel package in your favorite vacation spot, you might see an ad for the latest, greatest weight loss solution.”

I have a hard time believing it will make much difference when all I see now are generic weight loss or new language ads. How about ads to plan a trip to Ireland??? They should really know I search that sort of thing more than once in a while.

Maybe Acxiom and other marketing companies don’t send me targeted ads because they think I’ve lived in Idaho for 14+ years. I’m a Window’s user. And I own a home. For all that they do know about me though, I would hope they could get it right. At least once.

Rachel Anderson is a Pay Per Click Advertising Strategist at Netmark.com. Off the job she enjoys photography, good food, being outside, and spending time with her husband. Share your thoughts with Rachel on Twitter @gladygirl, Google+ or Facebook- she’d love to hear from you!

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