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Comcast provides reasons why consumers fear Big Data

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Comcast provides reasons why consumers fear Big Data
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We live in the age of Big Data. To me that translates into opportunity.

Brands have the ability to collect and aggregate data from online and offline sources to better understand their customers. No longer dependant on inefficient forms of consumer preference assessment like focus groups, brands can close the “Say-Do” gap through direct access to what their customers actually say AND do courtesy of the posts, shares, and interactions observed across multiple social channels. Combine this information with device choice, location as well as transactions, and opportunities abound to deliver more effective offers and build trusting relationships with customers.

Why does the idea of Big Data scare so many consumers?

Every time a brand demonstrates that it can’t get the basics of marketing communications right, consumers become more wary of what that brand might do if they had more information about them. Compare the idea to your friend who is all thumbs with tools. He or she can do a little damage being clumsy with a small rubber mallet, but think of the same damage that can be done if that person wields a sledgehammer.

Why am I thinking about this?

When I moved into new office space over one year ago, I signed up with Comcast for internet and phone service. I can’t help but notice that over the past 60 days, I have received a pile of mail from Comcast asking me to consider becoming a new customer. The above photo is a representative sample of what I have received over the past few weeks.

Being as forgiving as humanly possible, I can’t come up with a plausible excuse for Comcast. They surely have a customer database and can exclude existing customers from their mass mailings to a selected zip code. Why then do they continue to waste money sending multiple solicitation pieces of white mail to me each month?

What can we learn from this?

Brands would be wise to embrace the idea that trust is built by demonstrating you can execute well in the small things. Step by step, successful execution opens the door for customers to open up, share more, buy more, be more tolerant of service failures and – dare I say it – become more loyal.

If Comcast can’t figure out I am an existing customer, why should I trust the sincerity of future solicitations or offers of “great deals”? In the age of Big Data, it is critical to treat every data point collected about customers as valuable treasure. Avoid collecting more data points than you are prepared to invest in to execute effective marketing communications.

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