Tailoring Experiences or Exploitative Tracking?

four-square-check-in-here-e1333380727748A recent announcement from Snapchat explained that company will now use location data from Foursquare to better target their geofilters. Foursquare boasts that they have mapped over 90 million locations: stores, restaurants, theaters, and more. Additionally, they track customer phones as they move through these locations. For companies and brands using geofilters, that means they can target specific stores instead of an entire mall or a portion of an arena instead of the whole venue.

To a marketer this sounds great. More data points, specific information about where customers shop, and the ability to better target the customers you want to reach. But to customers, this sounds terrible; yet another example of being tracked to the point that an analyst will know what stores you visit most and even what aisles you spend the most time in.

So, what are customers to do? Give up and let it happen, push back and attempt to live a life devoid of trackable technology, some combination of the two? In reality, the onus of handling personal data responsibly should be taken more seriously by businesses.

The more personal data that is tracked and used in selling practices, the more it will become clearer how companies are using the information they collect. Customers will then have to decide if they want to continue doing business with those companies or find some other way to illustrate their dissatisfaction with the use of their personal information.

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2 Responses to Tailoring Experiences or Exploitative Tracking?

  1. Very solid topic!

    I definitely see dollar signs from a Marketing standpoint, but it does leave the worried mind of a consumer at a crossroads. These processes such as what Foursquare uses does nothing more than measure the amount of volume and traffic. Its truly a double-edged sword! You are correct is asking whether or not the consumer should give up and let it happen or not. I am very curious to see how this plays out in the grand scheme of things as well.



  2. While monetizing is vital to online platforms, it should also be important to provide an opt-out choice for consumers that don’t want to be tracked. That or risk the public’s wrath.
    With the expanding number of data points blasting the public from an increasing number of social media platforms, apps, and in-store monitoring systems, it’s no small wonder than the public is starting to become weary. The push-back will eventually come from consumers but the marketing industry could blunt the attack by establishing parameters that enable them to self-regulate. As other industry organizations have determined, it’s more advantageous to self-regulate then have congress or government agencies step in with regulations that adversely impact the marketing industry.


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