Target Marketing

Remember back thirty or so years ago when being chosen to participate in a TV survey was an honor?  You were a Nielsen family and your TV preferences counted. Your voice mattered.

With cable and satellite, the idea of being a survey family has fallen out of favor.  I am not even sure my kids know what a Nielsen family is, but if they did, they would probably think it was redundant.  Don’t the cable/satellite companies track everything we watch as it is?

In the past, my husband was a huge fan of radio surveys, at least until he started using an IPod.  I am unclear whether ITunes collects data, especially as we seldom log in, but I am sure Pandora is collecting information from my husband.

It seems the novelty of being part of a survey has worn off as technology now makes so much more available to companies seeking information about consumers.  I remember, in years past, getting phone calls asking me what kind of laundry detergent I preferred, or what kind of shampoo I used.  Sometimes those calls were a nice respite from motherhood; sometimes they were simply odd since I wasn’t much of a brand name shopper.  Either way, I never felt my privacy was being infringed in any way.  I still don’t feel my preference of soap is intrusive information.

Just recently, while planning for a trip, I searched online for “support” socks.  It is amazing how quickly and abundantly ads for support socks showed up on Facebook and Amazon since my search and purchase.  These adds do not bother me, it is needing the support socks when traveling which bothers me.

Media discussion about target marketing seems plentiful, and while I agree there are some negatives, from a personal standpoint I don’t find this type of marketing to be much of a problem.  It is actually less irritating than the huge piles of junk mail of the past.

Another advantage with target marketing is that unlike TV commercials, I don’t get hounded by ads which I find objectionable.  Out of curiosity the other day, I tried to delete an ad from my Facebook page. I was delighted when I could.  I am not sure it is always possible, but in this case I could not only delete the ad, but also give feedback as to why I wanted it removed.

Target marketing is nothing new; the method of information gathering is all that has changed.  As with any other change, learning how to maneuver in a less than private world takes some adjustment before a comfort level can be reached.  Some days I feel frustrated with all the disruption to my comfortable rut, but on other days, I reflect on how this constant change is keeping my brain active.  It is up to me to look at the negative or at the positive of the changing world.

Now I ponder – would it have been funny or mortifying if on the day I searched for “support” socks, I had also searched for a sexy negligee?  Since it was a family trip I was planning, the thought and the search never occurred.  Give me another decade…

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