The movie 2002 Minority Report nailed what the future of CRM will look like — but not in the scene you are probably remembering.
The scene everybody remembers has the Tom Cruise character walking through a department store where he is targeted, by name, by such brands as Lexus and Bulgari based on biometric readings taken from his irises. But the true bit of prescience in the movie is the specialized PreCrime police department’s ability to predict who will commit a murder and then stop it before it happens.
A day in the life
To really understand this scenario, let’s consider Ava, a consumer in 2039. She’s not much for advertising or interacting with flashy brands — ads for Lexus and Bulgari would basically roll right off her. She is more into sustainable living, farm-to-table food, support emerging market micro-commerce, and animal rescue — not exactly topics or channels that today’s marketers or companies can really reach. But in 2039 that will hardly matter.
Lisa Arthur, CMO for Teradata Marketing Applications, describes a day in Ava’s life. She gets into her smart car and it asks if she wants to go to her usual round of stops that she makes on the weekend. Ava says yes and they drive to her favorite organic grocery store, which primarily sells small, local organic labels. She walks into the store, which recognizes her — or at least her mobile or wearable device (the form factor of this device still a bit hazy from our 25-year view, but you get the idea). Instantly, it knows that she always buys a particular brand of bread when she is there. The store sadly informs her they are out at the moment and would she like to order some? Ava says yes and continues to shop.
While she’s shopping, she sees several handcrafted items from artists in Africa and thinks they would make nice gifts for the upcoming holiday season. She presses her device against them, buys them, and at the same time has them shipped to the recipients. Ava won’t have to schlep them home to package and mail them out later. Then it’s off to the gym, where the man next to her is rocking out to music on a pair of headphones that catches Ava’s eye. He lets her try them out and she decides to buy them. Presto goes the device, but this time Ava isn’t sending them elsewhere — she has bought them for herself and they are waiting for her at home later that afternoon.
We see glimmers of this world here and there today, in such developments as predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, natural language systems, big data, and the internet of things. Networks, channels, and data will be integrated to the point where people can communicate and interact with brands and service providers like they were people on the street to whom you would say hello.
Judgments about consumers and potential consumers will be made instantaneously, based on an enormous amount of information, much of which comes from everyday objects around the house and in the store and workplace. As for actual voice or electronic or in-person conversions with customers, those will be few and far between. They won’t be necessary: Like the specialized PreCrime police department in Minority Report, retailers and other service providers will just know.