Marketers? Walmart RFID Tags Cheaper & Smarter than Postage

posted Aug 11, 2010, 8:58 AM by Michael Hoffman
Do you know where your customers are?

Walmart's move to attach RFID  tags (Radio Frequency Identification Devices) to jeans and denim products makes obvious sense for operations and inventory management but what should marketing do?

Conceivably Walmart, its manufacturing partners and other third parties could match customer ID's with specific product purchases and then track the life of the product with the customer or product user thereby creating a vast wealth of consumer research and target marketing information. 

For certain high value customers and certain products the value of the information may outweigh the customer's cost of the product. Imagine knowing your customer's route through a store, through a mall, through downtown. Imagine receptors in billboards, kiosks, smart phones interacting with your jeans, smart card chips in your credit cards, your television, your car's entertainment system and obviously, your computer - but wait - with RFID doesn't everything become a computer? Or at least part of a computer network?

But what should marketers do now? Postage is more expensive than RFID tags, text messaging, Facebook social network messages and email are nearly free - so what can marketers do to extract optimum value from customers, grow relationship tenure and deliver exceptional customer experiences that hold attention versus competitors? 

1. Inventory your customer's contact points (including the ones where you don't (yet) participate) see CxC Matrix and Customer Worthy, Why and How Everyone in Your Organization Must Think Like a Customer (book)

2. Examine roles for who manages messages in each contact and establish style book/rule book for customer messaging (more advanced companies and agencies should go deeper into optimal messaging with ROI formulas)

3. Start measuring customer contacts by channel and customer life stage to identify and quantify opportunities and risks

4. Publish an internal customer "guide to customers" showing all the places/channels customers use to find, buy, discuss, service, return, resell your products and services 

Get ready for RFID tags on/in postal mail (yes - some companies have already done this - but the next wave is awesomer (yep)

Oh, and get your database resources ready to leverage the next (and current) data explosion... before your competition.