Big Data – the Cycle of Life

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October 22, 2014

Recently I turned 50.  The whole year prior, I spent planning a big party in which I could ring in a new half-century in style. I pondered all the things I could do.  I booked a caterer, thought about the guest list and who might attend.  Then with 6 months to go, started having friends put it on their calendar.

I felt ready to announce to the world I was turning the big 5-0.  But then a little more than a week before my birthday, I realized the entire world of big data had already been anticipating me turning half a century old. A week before the big event I received my invitation to join AARP.  Admittedly as a data and direct marketing geek, I admire AARP.  They do a great job of connecting with their core constituents, engaging them, collecting data on them, and using that data to drive commerce.  That is an admirable effort in my world.  But the other targeted direct mail ads I began receiving, ads for discreet bladder control products, high-end wrinkle creams, and cruises for mature adults were a bit insulting.

I never anticipated how crossing that magic number would elicit a stream of ‘new’ products overloading my mailbox.

I like to think of myself as a ‘sexy spinster’. I certainly don’t need any of those ‘senior’ products. While I realize that I fit a certain demographic profile where these products may be appropriate AND getting a consumer who fits your ideal customer profile to engage with your brand early on has huge lifetime value, I wish there was a little more discretion in what is targeted to ME! Going through this “very emotional time”, you might want to wait a year before targeting me… why 50?!?

I did mail out the invitations – albeit a week before the party. It was a smashing event and while my attitude right now towards all the brands that have targeted me is a negative one, I am looking forward to what the second half-century will hold. It will be interesting to see which stream of products hits my mailbox, and how my attitude changes over time.

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