Facial Recognition: What It Means For Marketers and Consumers

For years now, the world of marketing has been becoming more and more personalized. From how we can target people with social media ads to how we can drill down to everything from what people follow on social media to their annual income, recognition and personalization has exploded. One of the most powerful forms of marketing, though, stems from facial recognition.

The new Apple iPhone X has been at the front of the facial recognition debate. It’s capable of being unlocked just by looking at the phone, showing it has facial recognition software that’s very impressive indeed. Another odd example is the Chinese K Pro restaurant, where you can ‘smile to pay’ using previously loaded user details to charge items simply using your teeth.

What it means for marketers

From trying to predict what you are going to buy to accessing account details with a simple flash of the face, marketers will be in a much better position to transform the personalization of marketing.

Right now, marketers can locate people’s exact location using the location services on their phone. If it’s turned off, they can still used Wi-Fi or even your cellular network. These are used to offer up ads to someone based on their location.

Bring facial recognition into the mix, it doesn’t matter if you have your phone on you or not. Businesses can set up a facial recognition in their store in order to tell who is currently in their store. Online preference information can be attributed to whomever is in the store, allowing salespeople to know who they’re talking to before they even make an approach.

However, the main challenge is securing such data. With such precious information about someone being stored, it has to be more robustly and securely protected than ever before. A failure to do so means losing more than an e-mail address or an order history. With such personalized data potentially accessible, marketers have to be much more vigilant.

What it means for consumers

Consumers, though, are also likely to benefit from this. For one, it will be much easier to get the service that you need. You don’t need to hope that staff will remember you; facial recognition tools will relay all the information that they can possibly find about you. This makes it much easier to get the help that you need without time being wasted or frustration.

That being said, many are uncomfortable as consumers with the idea of companies holding such data about us. In a rush to usher in the next great generation of technological advancement, not enough take a step back and look closely at what this means. Yes, it can save you small talk with a staff member or it can mean logging into your customer account with a smile – but that information is now accessible by people you will likely never meet.

People need to quickly decide (if they even have the option) if they want to be personalized and treated less like a walking wallet by companies, or if they want to maintain their privacy and personal decisions. For both marketers and consumers, then, facial recognition opens up possibilities which are both exciting and concerning in equal measure.

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