THEY’RE WATCHING YOU: Big Data, Marketing and My Cold

A half scary / half awesome thing happened to me today.

I received  an email from Amazon around 1:12pm

The scary part? My inbox went “ding” right as I blew my nose. As I was wiping snot off my face and thinking to myself “Man, I must be getting another cold” I read the subject line “Laura Edmonds: Cold & Flu Prevention”

and saw this in my inbox.

Amazon Eblast

MIND. BLOWN.

The only explanation: THEY’RE WATCHING US. I received this email at EXACTLY the right moment. Would you call that coincidence??????? I mean, really. What better time to see a cold and flu advertisement than when you’re blowing your nose? Was there some sort of computer chip stuck in my hand when I was in the ER last month????

The awesome part? That email was data driven. Sure, sending at the exact moment when I blew my nose was a lucky fluke. BUT. Amazon did know that based on my previous search history, I would find this content relevant. I probably search tissues, cold medicine, Tamiflu, or something like that within the last month. Amazon  probably also knew that I open my emails during my lunch break every day.

They know what we’re posting on twitter, what we’re searching on Google and what we’re shopping for on Etsy. They track open rates by hour to know whether you are more likely to read their email in the morning or night. They track subject lines to see if you’re more likely to open an email with your name in it, or an email with the product in it. Or both. They even test colors and photos and fonts. (everyone picture Laura nerding out at all this data)

Yeah there’s software that does that. Did you know?? We use this stuff all the time! Data analysis is what I do in my job.. all day every day. :)

Laura Holderfield Edmonds

Also, data people wear black & nerdy glasses. FYI.

As a marketing person, I loooovvee these capabilities. As a human being, they’re kinda creepy.

Regardless – 10 points today for Amazon’s email marketing team.

What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “THEY’RE WATCHING YOU: Big Data, Marketing and My Cold

  1. I had never noticed it until recently – but lately i began to notice that furniture I shopped for began showing up in the side bars on pages I visit – so that really freaked me out. It started with shoes, and then it was end tables, and i can’t remember what was next but I became fully aware it wasn’t coincidence these things were on the side bar of news sites.

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