Friday, January 21, 2005

RFID -- Could be the
Next Big Thing in Contextual Marketing

Take note, marketers!

Radio Frequency Identification Tags are coming.

RFID technology converts UPC codes into tags that store information and can be identified by a radio receiver/reader device. Already, such technology is enjoyed by motorists, who zip through toll booths using pass systems. Now manufacturers, distributors and retailers are pushing to greatly expand the use of RFID. With RFID tags, manufacturers will be able to track goods, reduce theft, speed up product recalls and help distributors improve the shipping and receiving process. It will eventually be possible to use this information in a way that provides customers with added value.

For example:

Email offers would magically include deals on products about which the consumer was interested in when shopping in the store last week. Direct mail would be targeted with products that a large number of people in a particular zip code had shown interest in.

In-home readers could track our pantry inventory and notify us when key ingredients are running low. This could trigger an eMail message with a highly targeted incentive to replenish items needed to prepare a recipe that the customer was downloading from the retailer’s website.

Get the picture? RFID could be the next huge technology in personalized marketing that actually adds value to the customer.

Now of course this is a bit Orwellian, and it could be a huge invasion of privacy if done badly. We all need to stay on top of this discussion as RFID becomes a manageable marketing tool, and if we abuse it and run afoul of our privacy rights, we will kill a very powerful tool to do meaningful contextual marketing.


At 11:37 PM, Blogger Robert said...

Hey Dale,

I was just watching CNN's Top 25 innovations special and RFID was #10!

So, Orwellian has arrived, as you suggested. :) The program stated that soon RFID will be in all passports issued. WalMart will require all products to have RFID when shipped to their stores.

Pretty cool.



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