Tuesday, June 25, 2002

My first story for the Chicago Tribune, about the future of advertising as portrayed in Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report," was published this morning:

In researching the topic, I received some interesting e-mail that I wasn't able to include in the story. Steve McKee, president of ad agency McKee Wallwork Henderson, points out that

One-to-one or relationship marketing is mostly just hype, for one very simple reason that no one has ever articulated: relationships are

Here's what I mean. My best friend knows all my secrets, and I know his. He trusts me because I trust him. Or to put it another way, he has to trust me and I have to trust him. But that's the "social compact" that evolved over the course of our friendship. Now contrast that with someone I just met. I don't tell them anything that would make me vulnerable, because there's no relationship there; I don't have any affection or trust for him. It may grow over time, but it has to grow both ways. I'm not going to share my feelings and emotions if he doesn't, and vice versa. It's like a dance, and both parties have to be moving together.

How does that relate to "personal" advertising? Simple. When Southwest Airlines sends me a birthday card it creeps me out. Despite the fact that I have a lot of affection for the brand, my first thought is 'how did they know it was my birthday?' followed shortly after by 'I'm not sure I want them knowing it's my birthday' followed by 'that's none of their business!' In this case, Southwest knows more about me than I know about it; the reciprocity of the relationship is out of balance. The social compact is broken....I'm sure the marketing people at Southwest think they're doing a great thing sending me a birthday card (look at us, CRM pioneers!); little do they know it's not only not having the desired affect, but backfiring. And the more "personal" the advertising becomes, the more it will freak me out.

So, if a billboard looked at me and said, "hey Steve, this car has the leather seats you like" I would run. Fast. And I not only wouldn't trust that company, I'd do everything I can to see them fail. I think most consumers would act the same way....There is a way to do it that's really smart and avoids the type of scenario I'm talking about above, but it takes brains, strategy and restraint to execute. I'm not sure anybody's doing it today.

Allison Ward Moore of St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, AL, in a message with the subject "If Tom Cruise checked into a hospital in the Minority Report, here's what he would experience," points out the benefits of the technology portrayed in the movie:

St. Vincent's is one of three hospitals piloting the biometric thumbprint-based I.D. locator badge from Affinitex of Canada to manage log-ins and "behind-the-back" views by non-logged-in personnel of PCs and tablets displaying patient records. This means that hospital personnel in the room while a screen is being displayed is monitored and noted as having potential viewing access to a document. (There is a wall-mounted thin client in every patient room in the hospital for electronic patient charting and physicians regularly put their electronic signature on records at their own PC on each unit, and soon will do this on wireless PDAs in the hospital and on home computers through a secure physician portal.)

Critical care units are fully paperless (have gone digital) There is home registration of patients on a community portal which cuts out pre-registration phone call and accelerates admission There is an electronic check-in cart deployed in ER so the family doesn't have to leave the patient's bedside to answer registration questions. There is a bedside bar-code pharmacy system (Pyxis) that uses patient bar-code bracelet and bar-coded medications and bedside scanners fully operational to prevent drug administration errors.

Electronic processing and routing of all documents and physician verification "signature" taken at terminals throughout the hospital. Soon to get radio-frequency locator system for nurses, other personnel, and even expensive medical equipment subject to inefficient use or theft.

More response to come, I'm sure...

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