Will Data And Technology Become Too Big Brother?

Yes, moms are busy. And we love our smartphones and many of the apps that make our lives easier. But in an effort to secure a piece of her $2.5 trillion worth of spending power, there is the potential to turn off the highly sought-after Mom market. According to eMarketer, brands need to be careful how much they intrude on Mom’s territory. They caution, “Moms want to be the ones who initiate commerce-related activities in today’s digital environments.” Will some of the new technologies and mobile marketing efforts resonate with her? Or alienate her?

For busy mothers, convenience is still critical. Where it used to mean location and store hours, convenience today means being wherever she is and putting at her fingertips all the information she needs to make an educated decision. She’s looking for brands to tie social, local and mobile together in a seamless experience with deep information on the product and services, including inspirational images and video, usage ideas and customer reviews. And she wants to conduct price comparisons and check inventory at specific store locations, in real time. But in this case, the information is served up and controlled by her.



Yet, technology employed without her blessing? We are on the cusp of phones with near field communication. While NFC will allow for convenient digital wallets speeding along a purchase, the use of the technology to collect information from smartphones and knowing when she is in their aisle or store and target her with specific deals and information may be a little too intrusive for her. Imagine a multitude of brands simultaneously barraging her as she stands in the aisle making a selection. She’s already overwhelmed with choices and won’t appreciate being overwhelmed by marketing messages.

On the other hand, Wal-Mart Labs is spotting trends through social conversation and ramping up inventory using data-mining and social media dialogue to predict future purchases and then stock inventory accordingly. This is helpful, and shows the brand is listening. Moms adore brands that listen. 

While convenient for tagging friends and acquaintances on Facebook, facial recognition that identifies a mom when she walks in the store is a bit creepy. And interactive mirrors that identify what you are trying on and make recommendations for accessories lacks the personal, human touch, moms crave.
Many retail stores are now employing virtual greeters, the latest in digital signage, a helpful tool to save time by pointing out key areas of a store. One of the major complaints women often voice is poor store layout so this technology, although not the same as a human interaction, has the potential to be a value add for today’s busy moms. 

And moms love the touchscreen and introductions of iPads and tablets in many retailers which bridge the in-store experience with the ability to check prices and other aspects surrounding a purchase. It’s a great use of technology to enhance the retail shopping experience.

So brands and retailers need to be find the happy medium between technology and the human touch when it comes to engaging today’s mothers.  Tools that create a better brand experience while letting her stay in control and not feel spied on will be the ones that will win.

1 comment about "Will Data And Technology Become Too Big Brother?".
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  1. Anne Anderson from Anne W. Anderson, August 2, 2013 at 10:49 a.m.

    You may want to read M.T. Anderson's Feed, which posits a time when the barrage of marketing messages is a continuous stream of information into our minds, and all one has to do to purchase something is to think it.

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