C ompanies are using your data. That’s a fact. Every time you interact with the digital world, you give them more information.

Scary? Yes. The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data breach showed us that. But, can it be used for good? At Lightbulb we think so, and here’s why.

All of the apps you use collect information about you. Google, Facebook, Alexa, Hive, Uber, WhatsApp, the list goes on. Does that make it right? Well, only if they are using your data to get to know you, not exploit you.

Take the eHarmony advert with the woman on a date with a pig. Yes, they both like eating, but that’s the only commonality. If the company knows more about you, it can find you the love of your life.

Now, apply that theory elsewhere.


Content is king and data delivers it

When companies know more about you, they can improve your online experience.

Your social media feeds become more enjoyable. Why? Because the content is more relevant to you. No more ballet videos for the boxing fans. No more political updates from your right wing uncle.

Adverts become tailored, understanding the difference between your wants and needs. Want a new t-shirt? Ads will show you styles you actually like, within your price range. Need a new toilet seat? No more ads after you’ve bought one. They know you don’t give a sh*t.

When used correctly, data helps designers understand human behaviours, not just preferences. As a result, life online becomes faster, easier to navigate and more relevant through better designed apps and websites. Less steps to get where you want, less time-consuming clicks, and better customer service.

And what about when you’re out and about in the real world? Apps like Hive already know how you use your home better than you do, helping you save on energy bills. Retail parks can tailor offers to you, much like online shopping, and in the future, autonomous vehicles will understand where you are, where you need to be and at what time.

So, when you’re constantly interacting with the digital world, it helps if it gets to know you a little better.


Where do we draw the line?

Aside all the benefits, there’s the obvious negatives. For example, when companies exploit your sensitive, personal and identifiable data. We believe this oversteps the mark.

Grindr sharing user’s HIV data with advertisers? Yep, that’s f**ked up. Swinging political elections like Cambridge Analytica? Totally wrong.

As marketers we need to ensure we only use data in a way that helps people make informed decisions, improves their online experience, or provides offers that are of actual relevance.


What does this mean for your business?

Consumers are more switched on than ever to businesses using their information. Thorough research and strategic planning will help you harness that data to deliver effective marketing campaigns that properly align with their wants and needs.

In other words, use data to get to know your customers, not to exploit them.

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