by Tyler K
According to a recent article in the New York Times by Charles Duhigg, Target has managed to utilize its massive stores of information on their customer base to increase their Marketing Department’s power with new analysis techniques – including determining if a customer is pregnant, whether the customer wants the Corporation to know or not. Essentially, the article goes on to explain how Target, “…has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores,” (Duhigg, 2012). With every unique set of customer information, customers are given a unique ID, and from there, each purchase is scrutinized – what was bought, where and when it occurred, and how often these purchases happen. A statistician that was interviewed by the writer of the article states that he was approached by the Marketing Department for Target, and together they created a set of indicators that would reveal, if purchased frequently enough or in conjunction with other key items, would imply that the customer might be expecting. Since new parents have massive marketing potential, the company would then focus on sending coupons and advertisements to the expecting customer with baby products and other goods. In one extreme instance, an enraged father entered a Target in an uproar that Target would be marketing baby products to his high-school daughter, only to apologize via phone a while later, stating, “ ‘It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology’,” (Duhigg, 2012).