So, early this morning I saw the future, and this is what it looks like.
- Before the end of 2008, Google will make a significant entry in the Direct Marketing business, online and offline. DM is a sizable industry, running faster and faster (against declining response rates) just to stay in the same place. It is also plagued by bad data (otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten that slick Marlboro Classics brochure in the mail last week) and stale targeting techniques. Some direct marketers wring their databases through clustering algorithms by brute force alone, some extract interesting consumer insights. Just think about what Google could add to the mix.
- In the 2012 U.S. presidential election, the winner will be whoever has engaged Google Election Analytics (TM). The 2008 campaign will be run by fundraisers and consultants with detailed geomarketing databases and years of experience in (1) how and where a candidate can raise the most dollars per campaign hour, and (2) how and where to get the most voters per marketing dollar spent in the campaign. Add Google’s layer of data on Web searches, clicks, mails, calendars, photos, videos and so on, and you can start getting a feeling for the potential. I’m not saying that Google will choose the President of the United States: voters will. Yet, within the same street, within the same city block, within the same household, Google will be able to tell that Voter A is interested in a candidate’s message about gun control, Voter B is attracted by the candidate’s position on abortion rights, and Voter C agrees with the same candidate’s stance on free trade. And will be able to deliver, well, targeted marketing messages for each voter. It’ s starting to happen today, but it will be in full bloom by the election after this one.
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