Google announced that it added trail maps for 100 more ski resorts today, bringing their total to 225 maps. If you think this is for the convenience of skiers, think again. Few resorts are complex enough to require a map once you’ve skied a few runs.
Google knows that map data holds the key to geolocation and the quickly rising tide of mobile commerce.
Marketers and advertisers have long known that the greater the data about the consumer, the more decisions can be made with that contextual information. Engaging consumers with a minimum of data greatly decreases the likely relevance of any messages sent. Conversely, the greater the context surrounding the consumer, the greater the likely relevance of messages that are tied to that information.
But here’s where it gets interesting: Some aspects of context change quickly (location) and some are more static (like income level, marital status). Google’s move helps gather information about the most volatile of information…where the consumer is in this very moment. Getting closer and closer to the consumer’s actual moment and place is something we call, “Climbing into the shopping cart.”
Big data for the people
My husband worked his way through ski shops in college and laughs when he talks about how people describe their favorite ski terrain and style. He laughs at how often they inaccurately describe themselves. The frank fact is that we don’t know ourselves as well as we think and our world is colored by our level of self awareness. Imagine if we track our every run and the data tells us what we really do…how fast we ski, the type of runs, and every other detail.
A smart ski retailer can match their own expert knowledge of their product to a skier’s actually data. A smart restaurant can know when you like to eat and attract you at the right moment. A smart resort knows precisely when to offer an extra day of skiing on a ‘reloaded’ pass.
So if you think Google is keeping you from getting lost on the slopes, think again. The data you accumulate on the slopes is far more valuable to merchants and even to you than you’d think.