Fri 18 Jul 2014 04:21:48 AM PDT
Opportunity in surveillance marketing consolidation?
In the surveillance marketing business, a bunch of companies that started off in different places have all ending up doing the same thing. A company that started as a 1980s dial-up online service is competing with a company that started as a 1990s web portal and both are competing with social networks and post-bro lean 21st-century whatevers. It's like sailors, merchants, and farmers all abandoning their original occupations and all headed out to pan for the same gold.
But is the surveillance marketing gold rush coming to its natural end? Are we entering the consolidation phase, at least on mobile devices? Derek Thompson: A Handful of Tech Companies Own the Vast Majority of Mobile Ads. Google, Facebook, Pandora, Twitter, and Apple have 75%, and a quarter of the pie is left for the rest.
So what happens to the losers?
As soon as you accept that your company is a loser in the surveillance marketing game, you get to stop repeating the same old Big Data jive and come up with something new. As far as I can tell, everyone on the whole Lumascape has the same Unique Selling Proposition. Which is not really the point as uniqueness goes.
Look, it's a basic marketing exercise. Lots of variants, but basically, you try to fill in something like this.
[Product] is the only [category] that [benefit] for [market] by [core competency].
Ready? Here goes.
[example.com] is the only [adtech intermediary] that [maximizes ROI] for [advertisers] by [creepy data collection and difficult math].
The "only" looks funny there, doesn't it? That is exactly as differentiated as:
[Joe Bloggs] is the only [random guy panning for gold] who [finds the most gold] by [panning for gold in this spot right here].
Boring. It's a recipe for consolidation of an industry. So losing could be the best thing that ever happened to you.
What's the alternative? Well, Microsoft
seems to have part of the answer. Violet Blue
Second, using Android phones, I'm Google's lab
rat and fighting back a continual invasiveness from
a company that's really starting to freak me out.
Now we're getting somewhere. Sounds like a point of actual differentiation to me.
What if a vendor used its marketing power to amplify user feelings of unease about surveillance marketing, instead of trying to soothe them? Work with the creeped-out feeling, not agagainst it? Let's do that USP exercise again.
[Microsoft] is the only [productivity platform vendor] that [protects mental and economic integrity] for [users] by [blocking attempts to collect information about you].
That's something to work with, but it's just the start. A message without anything to back it up is as useless as the Scroogled campaign. Pointless. But if you build a security and privacy story keeping the USP in mind, within a couple of releases you've got something.
Clearly nobody in the IT industry is ready to give up getting a piece of the surveillance marketing business yet. But for whoever does first, the opportunity is waiting.
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