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Stop Making Friends And Start Making Money

August 26th, 2010

What if you could reward the customers with the greatest social graph (the most Friends and Followers)? Do you think you could score each customer to his or her overall value to your brand? Could you categorize your customers: Influencers, Heavy Spenders, Early Adopters or Casual Users? Why not?

What if you could provide incentives to customers to entice their social graph to visit the location (receive 10 cents on your loyalty/gift card for each of your friends who checks in)? Laugh if you will, but I believe the restaurant industry will see multi-level marketing become a large part of its business in the next three to five years.

My point is that retailers are about to be faced with mountains and mountains of data that will provide insights into their customers in ways we haven’t even yet began to imagine. (Who would have thought Blippy would be a real site just two years ago?)

The key to success in this new world is organizing and managing all this data. Social CRM is the foundation platform that will maintain it. I think great companies will leverage their BI infrastructure to round out the social business picture.

Companies that figure out how to harness (structure) and use this data will have an incredible advantage over those that don’t. I can’t stress how big of a gap I feel this differentiation is going to create. The “haves” will have an ever-increasing intimacy with their customers, while the “have nots” will still just be shouting at the crowd.

What are you more likely to do: Try that new chicken sandwich you saw fly by as you fast-forwarded through the commercials during CSI or try that burger Mike keeps raving about, the one he’s already eaten twice this week?

Term Of The Week: “Tibbing,” which is short for “Technical Fibbing.” Tibbing occurs when an IT person is unable to further simplify complex technology to a user’s level of comprehension and must say something that is technically inaccurate but communicates the appropriate concept.

What do you think? Leave a comment or E-mail me at You can also follow me on Twitter: @todd_michaud.

Physical therapy reveals that a 19-year-old injury is still causing me pain today. Someday I’ll be able to run without pain. Read more at


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Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

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