The marketing of products and services to consumers who are likely to be interested in the offer, or to be profitable for the business, is not new. However, with the development of more sophisticated information technology, businesses are better able to access consumers’ personal information and utilise complex systems to predict an individual’s behaviour.
Consumer Action, in conjunction with Deakin University, has published Profiling for Profit: a report on target marketing and profiling practices in the credit industry. This report explains that many businesses make significant investments to purchase or develop customer relationship management systems. Given such investments, information about these systems is not widely available, but some publicly available information gives an indication of the extent, and purpose, of their use. Recognising that lenders use customer information, and highly sophisticated systems, to target their marketing strategies, is the first step towards ensuring that these practices are taken into account in the development of consumer policy and law reform.