There has been a huge improvement in the area of recommendations from consumer data in the last 5 years. From Netflix to Kroger to Amazon to Google. Why are the credit card companies not as aggressive in getting into this?
news reports, the coupons have been right on the money: "Americans, even in this 'great recession,' are still redeeming only 1 percent to 3 percent of paper coupons. In contrast, Kroger, the nation’s largest traditional grocery chain says as many as half the coupons it sends regular customers do get used.". Google has been targeting ads on the internet based on search terms, mails in Gmail etc. They have proved to be good at it based on the market share they are gaining in advertisement dollars. Amazon has very good recommendation engine not only based on what a consumer bought from them, but also what the user browsed before they bought. Netflix competition winners BellKor showed a great way to recommend movies to customers based on the movies they have watched and rated.
There is continued improvement in this area. The Netflix competition focused on increasing accuracy of recommendations. Accuracy of recommendations is not an end-all. Suggesting one generic romantic comedy after another (say What Happens in Vegas and Just Married) just because a user rated When Harry Met Sally five stars is not helpful. In a paper that will be released by PNAS, a group of scientists, systems that base recommendations on correlations between users can miss niche items that a user might like, but would never find on his own. Research indicates that the most interesting recommendations and information originate from "weak ties" in a system, between users that are somewhat similar but disparate enough that they can introduce novelty to each other. These researchers have come up with a hybrid algorithm that could create a body of recommendations that combined novelty items and safer, more accurate pieces.
Cell phones show human movement predictable 93% of the time" The claim is that "location awareness" using mobile phones is the next major step in recommendation targeting in 2010 (Placecast working with Northface, ...).