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Database mining: Today I change my sex…

Database mining treats people’s daily lives as commodities. Sooner or later there will be a backlash…


I’ve decided that this month I am going to be a grandmother, with nose piercings, tatts and a nipple ring.

My new name is Heidi. I sing French opera backwards and only talk to my friends in Klingon.

Next month, I’m considering being a Basset Hound who collects Iggy Pop memorabilia.

The cause of all this identity shenanigans? In a word – Databases; or in several words: Database mining and real-time telemetrics in the application of market research and CRM.

I’m a marketer, my clients are marketers – and as marketers we are constantly evaluating the information accessible to us in order to gauge the best way to approach our customers and clients and better service their needs. So far, so good. But technology is changing, as it always does, and the application of that technology is changing too.

Were you aware that by tracking smart phone movements, telco companies can predict where you will be located, at any particular time, and on any particular day, with 93.6% accuracy?

Read the linked article above with a marketer’s mindset.

Then pretend you’re Big Brother and read it again.

I’m not trying to start some Orwellian rant here on diminishing civil liberties and the death of privacy.

What I am saying is that these technologies are going to lead to a lot of lazy marketing and bad business practice.

It’s already too easy and tempting to fall into the “better information makes for better decisions” trap when it comes to classifying people. With this kind of data at hand, why should business work to gain your personal, individual trust and earn the right to your patronage? Wouldn’t  it be easier to target your friends, associates or neighbours by their location and preferences, knowing that you’re 5 times more likely to change your buying patterns if they do?

Personally, I don’t want the pieces of my life and heart currently residing in databases being picked over by data miners like crows on fresh carrion. I’m sure many of your customers and clients will feel the same.

Let’s differentiate ourselves from big business and treat customers the way they have always demanded to be treated.

May I also suggest you follow my lead and enact some civil disobedience. Stop giving sensible answers to insensible requests wherever possible. Choose a database that doesn’t really matter to you much and Nerf it for all it’s worth.

You’ll either get some real change from big business – or some really interesting direct mail.

Either way it sounds like fun to me. >:-)

tlhIngan maH! Hab SoSlI’ Quch!