Sunday, November 25, 2007

Got Milk? Stuff I did not know about data protection and privacy

I was at the RSR-sponsored data security conference at Las Vegas recently (where Patrick, our CEO, presented on the importance of a data-centric view on protecting and managing data) and stumbled across a few interesting tidbits that I did now know. Here is one that came up during a conversation about consumer privacy and how aggregated data is being mined for interesting information. Similar to the famous beer-diaper correlation but interestingly different.
Apparently a grocery chain was concerned about attrition and mined data about its customers from its loyalty program to understand this trend (I hope this grocer does not keep personally identifying information and has a good security and privacy policy in place!). They were specifically looking for something that would give advance warning that a customer was about to reduce purchase frequency and maybe stop coming to the store. And what was the bottom line? Milk is the leading indicator!
The short shelf life and the ubiquity of milk dictated the purchase frequency of all grocery items in the home and thus timing of trips to the store. If the customer found milk (better, cheaper, organic, closer etc) they are more likely to purchase other items from that location as well. When customers start reducing their frequency of milk purchase, they are probably substituting from another store.
Interesting, isn't it? Milk – to stop bone loss and customer loss!

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