Your Mobile Device as the Ultimate Biometric

As the ability to track consumer data and develop new technologies simultaneously advance, we turned to our CEO, Dave Palmer, for his insights into the new role mobile plays in linking our physical and digital worlds.

This week, I read an interesting article on how Visa plans on using your smartphone’s location function to help combat fraud. The idea is that banks will update their smartphone apps to include Visa’s latest location-tracking software, then establish a 50-mile radius of the customer’s “home territory.” When a person travels outside this range, the location function automatically notifies the bank, reducing the need to flag the card for a fraud alert.

I love this concept for many reasons:

1. It’s beating the bad guys.

2. It’s a technological solution to a thorny problem.

3. It’s an example of consumers trading privacy for value.

Data lies at the heart of our ability to be more efficient and effective when it comes to our marketing strategies. And as big data becomes more and more omniscient, consumers rightfully have some privacy concerns and questions around the ownership and control of such data.

I believe that the mobile phone in our pocket truly is the ultimate biometric link to our digital and physical worlds and we, as marketers, have to respectfully balance how we can leverage it for good.

New capabilities are constantly emerging – for instance, Dedicated can target customers who are in the parking lot of their favorite big box retailer or conquest them as they visit a competitor. Then, we can siphon through almost a trillion data points a week to measure in-store lift to understand whether that advertising effectively drove performance. Amazing stuff!

However, I still believe this is only the tip of the iceberg. The phone has the ability to record your real-world experiences and habits, then attribute them back to the stimuli you may have interacted with along the way.

The most elegant solutions that will emerge to accomplish these ideas will be instances where users willingly acquiesce to being tracked because the tracking adds value by saving time or money, improving communication, or benefiting the community while also respecting personal boundaries and placing control into the hands of the consumer.

We live in interesting times, at the precipice of our phones acting as our wallets and our personal authentication devices becoming our guardians. When we consider the mind-boggling marketing possibilities as these trends fold out, it’s fascinating to know this is simply the beginning.