University of Pennsylvania marketing professor Joseph Turow writes of a father who first learned of his teen-aged daughter’s pregnancy when Target mailed maternity-related sales offers to his home. How could the department store know she was pregnant before her family knew? Turow reports that the US has entered a new world of marketing in which online and brick-and-mortar retailers can collect and analyze unprecedented amounts of personal information about shoppers. An online retailer can track not just your progress through its site, but your jumps to other sites. Real-world stores can do similar things by exploiting smartphone apps, Wi-Fi, cameras and GPS. Their aim is to compile enough data to craft personalized messages for individual consumers; they want to know if a shopper is pregnant or low on shaving cream so they can send ads at opportune times. By combining tracking with data mined from sources like barcode scans or credit card sales, retailers can – for example – make a coupon for chocolates pop up on your phone when you’re standing in the candy aisle trying to resist temptation. Turow’s book is a fascinating, sometimes frightening look at recent advances in market-based surveillance as well as the ways retailers are training customers to accept growing levels of intrusion. getAbstract recommends his report to marketers, retailers, consumers and privacy advocates.
In this summary, you will learn
- How retailers track customer behavior on an increasingly granular level,
- How retailers use the data they compile to direct personalized marketing messages at individual consumers, and
- What society and government should do to protect consumers’ privacy.
About the Author
Joseph Turow, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, is a fellow of the International Communication Association and has won a Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association.
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Comment on this summary
2 years agoAdvertising is like saying the engine of progress but for the most part advertising is imposing their tastes and spreading the opinions for adolescents pier buy it and you are cooler than anyone in my opinion
2 years agoGood read on the use of digital media and marketing. Does the author suggest alternative routes for the retailers?
7 months agojust some personal idea. More and more technologies are applied on figuring out what customers need to help retailers. What if some day customers would start to mentally refused those "mind-reader" promotion then seek for some trusts from retailers?
2 years agoInteresting, how many of us have accepted to connect to WiFi in a location, unknowingly, only to be stocked! Makes you wonder who will now stock me for posting this message? Today, the diner time tele-marketer, tomorrow???
2 years agoI thought it was interesting to understand the potential data mining in the physical world in addition to online. The length of summary was good as it gave at a high level a demonstration of the variety of ways in which retail companies are tracking us.
2 years agoI use the internet to undertake research and to buy presents for others. I then receive plenty of inaccurate badly targeted marketing. The industry has a long way to go before it gets anywhere near knowing me. I implore google and apple to follow me and learn my every taste and move but still they struggle. One day they will get there but meanwhile it is effective as snake oil.
2 years agoThis summary is detail