Behavioral Targeting Becoming ‘Essential’

    August 7, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Now is the time to do some behavioral targeting before it’s regulated. (Da guvmint is froggy on both sides of this issue, wanting at the same time to limit how much digital information is stored about users and to glean all they can from it for their own surveillance purposes.) Though people tend to be creeped out by how much marketers know about them, if done right, it can be mutually beneficial.

There are some kinks to be worked out, though.

When I turned 18, I got a present from Gillette in the mail – the brand spanking new Mach 3 razor. I was too young to be concerned at the time about why Gillette knew when my birthday was, and how they knew where I lived. Did they have an arrangement with Selective Service or something? Scary.

Nonetheless, it was an effective marketing hook. I used that razor (and bought knew blades frequently) for a long time – until I said, "Hey, wait a minute! That’s creepy."

On the Web, at your online store, it’s the same concept. You know your customer, you know what he wants, and you deliver it before he can ask, or suggest something he didn’t know he wanted.

That’s the idea, anyway.

SearchEngineGuide’s Jody Nemitz cites three reasons why behavioral targeting is becoming "essential": rising acquisition costs; decreasing conversion rates; transition from mass marketing to personalized marketing.

He recommends developing profiles for users that take into account factors like referral sites and keywords, internal search patterns, noting preferred content and contact methods, purchase patterns, and demographics, among other things.

And then he gets creepy with a hypothetical examination of "Jonathan Bowers," who will know all sorts of details about, enough to let him know of discounts on Hawaiian cruises. But that’s the sort of thing you’ll need to know to effectively market to the Jonathan Bowerses of the world.

Until he gets mad at you for spying, that is.