Banks Will Know Chipotle Is Going Bankrupt Before Chipotle’s CEO

chipotle02Following Chipotle’s e-coli scare late last year, the burrito chain’s stock has been on a free fall. From a peak of ~$750 in October 2015, the stock price plummeted to ~$400 at the height of the crisis last month. At the time, it was rumored that the company might be forced to file for bankruptcy.

Whether the rumor is true or not, banks will know Chipotle is going bankrupt before Chipotle.


Because they’ve been tracking footfall at Chipotle’s outlets from the space. Yeah, that’s right. From. The. Space.

This data is made available by Orbital Insight, one of a new breed of companies that gather data from the space by floating low earth orbit satellites.

This is not all: According to a recent article titled “Traders’ New Edge: Satellite Data” in Fortune, Orbital Insight “also zeroes in on the parking lots of more than 50 U.S. retailers, providing intel about store traffic to hedge funds and other investors.” So the investment community will know whether a retailer’s sales will rise or fall before the retailer.

These examples show that, when it comes to making a quick buck, financial services follows a “no holds barred” approach towards gathering and analyzing data. Even from above the earth.

Now, when it comes down to earth, many finsurgents claim that traditional banks, financial services and insurance companies do little to analyze the petabytes of data they have about their customers’ spending habits. This doesn’t resonate with my personal experience and anecdotal evidence:

  • A bank made a snap offer for mortgage when I encashed my fixed deposits to fund a house purchase (click here for more).
  • Cardlytics claims over 500 banking industry customers in USA for its credit card spend analysis technology.

However, that’s not the point of this post.

I’m more interested here in understanding how brands – in BFSI and other industries – can translate data-based insights into customer engagement actions. I realized the challenges involved in this process when I chanced upon the following tweet:

Visited a PvtClinic. Dr prescribed meds.Got an SMS from dotcom company that they'll deliver on discount. Is there something called privacy?

— Rajagopal (@rajagopalcv) January 19, 2016

This is a great example of a brand using analytics to make a highly relevant offer and, that too, in real time. As a marketer and CX advocate, I’d laud the private clinic and the drug company for reaching out to @rajagopalcv to help him save money (by offering a discount) and make his life convenient (by offering home delivery) before he went off to the nearest pharmacy to buy the medicines at full price.

However, as the consumer, does @rajagopalcv share my view? Doubtful. He’s evidently peeved about the loss of privacy. He doesn’t seem to have registered the offer.

Lest we justify his outburst on the grounds of data privacy, I’ve visited a few private healthcare providers. Each of them asked me to sign a form in which there was an opt-in clause to the effect, “I agree to receive communications from our authorized partners”. Based on my personal experience, I’m quite sure that @rajagopalcv would’ve similarly given his consent for allowing the private clinic for sharing his data with third party companies. (NOTE: In the absence of HIPAA-like health data protection laws, a patient’s consent is deemed adequate for disclosure of health information in India.)

So, technically, this guy shouldn’t be cribbing about getting this targeted offer. Despite that, he does. That too, in public.

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