Digital Marketing for Good or for Evil

In the retail space, it would be easy to be evil.  One of the ‘theoretical’ implementations the team at a previous company when I was designing part of the Microsoft retail store was the fact that we could track people based on the NFC/RFID credit cards when they walk in a store and then using Kinect watch them in store while getting 3D data and then trying that into the purchase which in theory we could get from the POS.  Now this discussion was outside of the actual deal with Microsoft as they had asked for ideas and this idea was thrown out before we got to Microsoft.  An example of why we threw that out gets to another UX study we did in the store.

At the time there was this thing called a software kiosk that was going into the stores (don’t get me started as this was a brilliant idea but poorly executed in terms of marketing and placement… ) in any case there was this kiosk and you could pick thousands or potentially millions of titles then buy them and have them burned and manufactured on DVD in the back room and ten minutes later it shows up like a star trek replicator sort of thing.  Given that one of the UX studies we did was to look at the most popular titles in the category that you are looking at and then show them on the digital wall that wraps around the screen.  each time someone would look at a different category on the kiosk then the 200-foot wall would have the software advertised on it change.  This proved to make the average consumer uncomfortable.  We found that people love technology to make things easier or to hide complexity but getting in your business even a touch even if only perceived is hugely problematic and consumers will hate you.

Certainly, we don’t want to be the target of that just as Microsoft didn’t.  our goal at Metric is to create interactive screens that can be in public that are helpful.  Without crossing the line.   For example, at Metric we are designing systems that give only the aggregate data for demographics as this gives the most benefit to the business AND the consumer where we can provide helpful information without the perception of intrusiveness.  as a matter of corporate policy, the goal is the design the best experiences to market that we ourselves would want.  It is our opinion this is the only way to really drive adoption.  While other companies might try to get all ‘big brother’ this will backfire and there will be a backlash and when there is Metric will be right there helping get things right for the consumer  (our friends, our family our neighbors etc.).  In many ways, our goal is like Google’s, “Do No Evil”.