Every day we trade our personal information for something. Our grocery “loyalty” cards provide companies access to our purchase behavior. The email newsletter from All Recipes gets your name, email address, physical address, and cooking habits. Heck when you buy dinner with a credit card you’re trading away your personal information.
Companies want more of your information. They’ve always wanted more of your information. More data and better data leads to smarter business decisions, more precise targeting, and of course a better return on investment. Simply put, without your data, companies would be guessing about who’s buying, what they’re buying, and would be blindly guessing about where to put their money. Come to think of it, aren’t lots of companies doing that right now
But seriously, you are valuable. Well, actually, your data is valuable. As budgets shrink and accountability rises your data becomes even more valuable. If something is valuable, it often means it’s worth paying for. Which begs the question, at what point will we be able to trade our information like commodity or stock exchange?
At the iMedia Agency Summit in Austin, Texas a gentleman from Blue Kai speculated that in the near future you’ll be able to trade your personal information for a trip to Hawaii. The term personal information is loose. You won’t be trading basic information like name, date of birth, and email address for that trip. Nope, you’ll be trading information about where you ate, what you saw, what you bought, why you bought, how many fruity drinks you drank, what music you listened to, and why you ordered octopus when according to what they already know about you, you’re allergic to seafood.
Some people will find sharing that information a fair even exchange. Others will balk at the concept. Me, I’m game. I’d gladly trade a bunch of my personal information for a new BMW M3.
Are you game? What would you trade for a new car or a trip to Hawaii? Would you sell your information? Your middle name might have little value on the exchange, but…allowing someone to monitor your web surfing habits for a year could be worth thousands. Along those lines, would trade your web surfing behavior for free internet? What about your tv viewing habits for free cable?
As consumers become smarter and realize that their personal information is quite valuable they’ll do one of two things:
- Protect that information, making it harder for companies to learn about customers
- Demand compensation for access to the information
That’s going to change the entire dynamic of the company-customer relationship. It’s going to be fun. BMW, I eagerly await my new M3.