“Whether you’re talking Big Data, mobile or the first experiences with e-mail and website marketing, we tend to think about the customer or consumer interest second and the technology first. It always ends up biting us in the butt.”
Technlogy firm EMC chief technology officer Bill Schmarzo made this observation in a discussion with reporters regarding ethics in the use of Big Data.
He further noted that most companies tend to abuse technology to the point that consumers are repulsed by them.
“Even e-mail started off as really powerful, and we soon abused it and turned it into spam. Websites are the same way, too. Some make really nice use of the real estate on the screen and present marketing messages in a tasteful way, but then you have some that are just cluttered, and they try to trick you into clicking on buttons you don’t want to,” he observed.
Schmarzo said that if companies do not apply some ethical rules in the use of Big Data to underpin their push marketing activities, the same thing could happen to the technology, with customers possibly refusing to exchange personal information for content, as they are doing now.
“Say you’re in the health-insurance space and find out some of your customers are looking at websites talking about cancer. What do you do? Or you’re an employer like EMC and you have employees who are married, but going to dating sites. What do you do?” Schmarzo added. “As an organization, you need to think about the decisions you want to make and make certain you’ve got rules in place with this decision governance approach that makes sure the whole organization is being respectful of how they make those decisions and how they use data.”