Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Tesco's genetic code

Richard Dawkins has written of a day when you'll be able to read a persons genetic code, and retrospectively work out the environment they lived in, what they looked like etc. You'll read their story from their genes.

When I was walking round Tesco's it struck me that there's probably a parallel in market research. Lots gets done into what people think of brands, why they choose what they choose, how they interact.

Take my shopping trolley. Look at the choices there:

Organic veg
Bread making flour
Tescos hand wash
Head and shoulders
British apples
Spanish oranges

Some own brand stuff, some branded goods. A strange mixture of choices, brand interactions and historical purchasing decisions.

You could probably infer masses about my psychological state and what's important to me. You could probably figure out what I watched on TV, and which brands I thought were good and which bad, where I'd choose to bank and what car I'd drive, how much I earned and where I lived. You'd definitely know what I considered to be good value, and how value built up in my mind.

The average set of weekly transactions from my computer would probably tell you more about me than 2 hours with an expensive psychiatrist. Roll in my shopping list and you'd know more about me than my wife.

If a few brands in the UK pooled their research resources, we bunged it all into a computer (how hard can it be, a few ones and zeros) we'll all be rich beyond our wildest dreams. Who's with me?

And before you ask, I don't know why the picture is on its side. I've tried everything and now I've had enough.

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