I work in marketing, which means I’m always trying to sell you something. It’s a tough business, made even more so by the fact that people react negatively to persuasion. Worse yet, for many consumer brands and retailers, “marketing” entails various forms of data tracking, another practice that (if we’ve learned anything from Facebook’s recent travails) isn’t exactly popular among ordinary consumers. But it’s no surprise that retailers are turning to it anyways. When it comes to marketing and selling goods in the digital age, Amazon now determines the rules of engagement, including for physical retailers. Analysts estimate that Amazon generated over $1 billion in sales on its best day last year, an achievement made possible largely because the tech behemoth collects and analyzes vast quantities of data on customers’ shopping history, then funnels those insights into its sales and marketing operations. As a result, many smaller retailers (brick-and-mortar, digital, and hybrids alike) are following suit, rushing to collect their own data on customers in order to compete. The problem is, most can’t possibly win against Amazon by playing the e-commerce giant’s game. To survive (and thrive) in a marketplace where price and convenience rein supreme, retailers of all stripes need to provide something that Amazon can’t: high-quality, human-touch customer service. Read more at Fast Company.