There is a moment when almost any Internet user feels as though companies they like to buy from are inside their head. This is a time when they see something marketed to them that is exactly like something that they have been thinking about getting. It is an odd moment that feels almost strange and mysterious. However, it can all be explained by big data.
Believe it or not, almost everything that you do in your personal life is potentially of interest to marketers. Why is this the case? Because the more they know about you, the more that they can tailor make their marketing pitches to meet your personal needs.
In a New York Times article, one former marketer for the retail chain Target discussed what that company wanted to know about customers. Specifically what they wanted to know about pregnancy. In the article he says,
Because birth records are usually public, the moment a couple have a new baby, they are almost instantaneously barraged with offers and incentives and advertisements from all sorts of companies.
This is very interesting. Companies literally pull birth records to see if there are people near their stores that have just had a baby. This is of course a time when most people buy a lot more things than they might otherwise have to as they now have to meet the needs of another person.
Things like having a child are important to businesses as are a lot of things that you might not think twice about. It is a vital aspect of what businesses are doing these days, and it can have a big impact on the bottom line for a lot of companies. Companies like Amazon use big data to understand shopping behaivior. In order to do this Amazon's big data team refines algorithms to predict shopping behaivior based on activity. If a shopper searches for X then they may receive ads or e-mail promotions for Y. Amazon was a pioneer in "smart" content. Whenever you go to the site you will notice suggestions are laid out for you based on your habits. This customized experience replaces cold, pushy advertising creating a more genuine and useful user experience.