Yesterday HarrisInteractive launched what they call Research Lifestreaming (sm), what they call a revolutionary new research platform that presents a 360-degree view of individuals by connecting information they post online, survey responses, and behavioral data.
Yeah I know typical press release jargon. But this is something that is actually kind of new–here is where they are blazing into new frontiers:
- Listen to unfiltered conversations on membership social media networks (with the respondents’ full consent) and link panelists’ demographic profiles to their social networking posts, thus segmenting panelists into online personalities based on socio-graphic attributes;
- Observe behavioral patterns of individuals using Harris Interactive’s Clickstream and Mobile GPS technology, sending surveys to respondents’ mobile phones and asking relevant questions based on their geolocation;
- Interact with participants using two-way interaction via group discussions on the web and asking them one-on-one, in-depth questions about their experiences; and
- Survey panelists with traditional surveys to gain marketplace and macro-level data that provides on-the-spot opinions.
This is a marketers dream. It’s also another entities dream that we probably should be worried a little about–that entity is government. Before I jump into big brother let’s talking about the marketing aspect.
It’s Not What You Say It’s What You Do
Marketers have known for centuries that what people say and what they do are two opposing forces. I might say I like to eat mustard but then you check my refrigerator and there is no mustard to be found. So how much do I really eat it? Now with technology and communication platforms like social media marketers can get almost close to a full picture of someones thoughts and real intent.
What is even more interesting is the ability to use GPS technology to take this “lifestreaming” and survey data to a whole other level. Attitudes on each coast and in flyover country do tend to differ so this geo-targeted information does have tremendous value. There also seems to a be a real time element to this that has seldom been available before.
As a marketer it’s key to get real world knowledge and data to make educated decisions on what product mix, what features, and what messages to promote and create. This tool or change in research dynamics should provide a more complete view of respondents and people who sit on these panels.
I am not comfortable with any government agency tapping into this platform. The difference between government and a private business is… well the main one is the use of force. Private industry cannot force you or I to buy their product or service. So if this service is something that we don’t like we simply choose to move our spending to other sources.
Government on the other hand has a monopoly on force and has a tendency through out history to try to control it’s subjects. More psycho-graphic knowledge allows government to not only understand how policies are really perceived but also give the ability for abuse and targeting based on freedom of thought.
Sounds like a conspiracy? I agree it does and we are no where near where this technology can be abused but as with all technology the exponential adoption can change this virtually overnight.
The Next Step
In a few years from now some research firm will announce that not only have they incorporated lifestreaming into their data access but we now install camera’s throughout our subjects work and home. Here is a future press release:
Life Capture (SM), a revolutionary new research platform that presents a 3D 360-degree view of individuals by connecting information they post online, conversations on the phone, survey responses, and live feed cameras from the bedroom to the bathroom, and behavioral data. Our clients are able to interact with Life Capture respondents by observing their actions, asking them a question, and watching them in the shower to the most intimate moments thereby developing a deeper understanding of why they do what they do.