During the mid-1950’s, Salvador Dali painted “The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory.” If alive today, Dali might be painting “The Disintegration of Privacy.”

Marketers already know where you shop and what you buy, but soon they’ll have an endless supply of data gleaned from the Internet, your mobile phone, and your cable TV.

For example, mobile phone companies have the technology to deliver ads to you based on where you are at any time. “Hey Sam, while you’re on Main Street stop in and grab take-out at the Olive Garden. We’re less than a block away! Tell them Mobile Mac sent you and receive 10 percent off your order for the next 20 minutes. Press 1 to call ahead or 2 to see the menu.” Hopefully, we’ll have the option to “press 3 and this ad will self destruct.”

What’s Next?
Data collection based on the websites individuals visit, what blogs they leave comments on, and tidbits of precious profile information more than a 100 million people left with Yahoo, AOL, MySpace, or MSN. These are just a few among countless other web resources that are in the process of being mined.

With the prolific creation and subsequent collection of consumer data, it is clearly possible to achieve an unprecedented level of target marketing. But should that continue to be the focus for marketing professionals?

In today’s Ad Age Digital email newsletter (Sept. 12, 2006), Gerard Broussard offers his view that, “… marketers should pay close attention to emerging digital platforms because they provide a trail of electronic bread crumbs to help identify and track consumers’ media behavior. A high degree of addressability will create greater targeting precision than ever before and holds the potential to morph standard media targeting into hypertargeting.”

Broussard goes on to state, “…Comcast and Cablevision, indicated they would like to offer household-level hypertargeting in key test markets by late 2006 or early 2007. Some are working through privacy issues relating to subscriber information they will make available for targeting specific homes. Once a single cable company throws its hat in the ring, the rest will follow quickly.”

Has technology brought about a marketing paradigm shift? You bet. Will hypertargeting become all the rage in 2007? It already has, but the lose of consumer privacy doesn’t mean that consumers will lose control.

Everyone agrees that rapid advances in technology have changed your ability to precisely target your audience. And, more importantly, there has been a significant shift in power from the advertiser to the customer. The consumer, now more than ever, has the power to choose.

What is more important; hypertargeting your market or the shift in power to the customer?
The paradigm shift resides in the understanding that the consumer is now, and likely forever more, in control. The rising tide of consumer choice coupled with customer-to-customer conversation is outpacing the collection and manipulation of consumer data. The key resides in understanding that the customer can choose the messages he or she would like to encounter.

Focusing on the content of your message, consistent across all media channels, is more important now than ever. Content, and not the target audience, is and will always be King. The right audience for a particular product or service knows who they are and social networks will spread the good word. In the near future, consumers will possess full control to choose the messages they want to receive, digest, and disseminate.

You’ll come up short if you believe hypertargeting is in itself the answer; your prospect will just change to another media channel where they have the option to choose.

Hypertarget the media channels that offer your target customer’s the opportunity to choose. You’ll know your target market is reading your message, because they independently selected to learn more about your offer. Isn’t this the ultimate goal?

[tags] hypertargeting, multi-channel marketing, target-marketing, eoecho.com, eoecho [/tags]