Continuing our discussion about marketing boring products, I wanted to take a moment to discuss the hidden challenge of marketing a particularly boring product, life insurance. That challenge takes the form of something most people anticipate with great excitement: retirement.
A friend and former colleague coined the term “taboo data” recently, and I intend to steal it.
By way of background, my friend Trey Peden started seeing wedding ads online after visiting wedding-related sites ahead of his upcoming nuptials. This targeting should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the current state-of-play of online targeting. Only one problem: none of the couples in the ads resembles Trey and his intended because his intended is also a man.
Without diving into the churning debate about gay marriage (I’m very much in favor of it, if it makes a difference to you), I find Trey’s take on the situation enlightening. He knows enough about online targeting to know that if they could divine his imminent (within two months) wedding by his web tracking, they could also glean his sexuality. In turn, there’s no reason he couldn’t have seen ads with two groom or two bride figurines on top of the cake. He assumed that these marketers made the decision not to target this way to avoid controversy. Hence, he coined the term “taboo data.”
Have we created a class of data that we can derive easily but that we can use only at our peril? Let’s talk about the implications of taboo data.