Imagine you’re on Facebook late one night, and you suddenly get a video call. You look over, and it’s Taco Bell. You answer, and it’s a recorded video commercial, meant to look like a real person, reminding you that you’re craving fourth meal…
Okay, that may be a stretch, but with the recent announcement of Facebook partnering with Skype that may not be too far off.
With the new Facebook video chat (which is arguably trying to compete with the much talked about Google + video feature, called “Hangouts”) a user can only video chat with their Facebook friends. So how long until you can initiate a video chat with a representative from your favorite brand on Facebook. Telling them how great or horrible that day’s service was. That’d be helpful, right?
Well, think of the next iteration — your favorite brands calling you and leaving promotional messages. In the case of Taco Bell, imagine:
“Hi, it’s late, why don’t you head over to Taco Bell and get yourself some fourth meal? Give the cashier code XYZ and you’ll get a free Taco Supreme!”
Hmmm…that’s still not horrible, but edging on questionable.
A month later, you get another video call from Taco Bell:
“We haven’t seen you in awhile, come back and we’ll give you any item of your choice for .99 cents!”
Now it’s time to block Taco Bell.
I know it may seem extreme, but this is what happens in all other forms of direct marketing; whether you mysteriously receive a brand new store credit card with an offer from a brand you haven’t shopped in awhile or an email thanking you for being a customer, companies know more than you’d probably like to think.
Furthermore, we’re getting to the point which social media behavior and offline behavior are being combined to create the perfect, most accurate customers profiles that we’ve ever seen.
Am I happy about Skype for Facebook? Of course, from a marketer’s perspective, it may have some interesting implications. But from a consumer perspective…watch out.
Note: I love Taco Bell, by the way. Call me if you want to give me free food 🙂