Overheard in the faculty lounge … re: the Target flap.

By now, everybody has heard how Target mines data on shoppers to ID when they’re approaching life events — e.g. having a baby — that make them “vulnerable to marketing initiatives.”

The reaction of many marketers seems to be: “why aren’t we doing that?”

The reaction of shoppers is predictably negative: “Invasion of privacy”, “manipulative”, “creepy”.

The reaction in the faculty lounge is interesting.

Background: a branch of marketing studies consumer behavior … how and why consumers think and act … why they pick one brand over another, etc.

There seems to be concern among some academic CB researchers that their findings are  being hijacked by evil profiteers, to the disadvantage of the masses:

Consumer behavior research clearly helps the stores in the “attack” on the consumer. Does CB help in the development of the “defense” of the consumer?

One colleague sought to allay any pangs of guilt:

The “consumerism” defense is that the findings can be used to benefit both producers and consumers.

Any way, as [a famous consumer researcher] used to argue “the effects we study are so small in the real setting that any harm done is minimal.”

Now, that’s a rallying cry for you …

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One Response to “Overheard in the faculty lounge … re: the Target flap.”

  1. Mike Says:

    I’m shocked! MSB has a faculty lounge?

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