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Reaching a Moving Target

As retailers gear up for the holiday season, you can bet they're looking for the biggest bang for their buck in attracting potential shoppers. One of today's sought-after technological innovations, automated targeting, seem like an ideal solution for retailers on a budget who are hoping to find the magic bullet with a precise, engaged audience. They're not wrong: Targeted, programmed ads are a smart way to drill down to the demographic they're looking for. There's a caveat though - while gathering demographic data, the targeting is often focused on past behaviors. Was that suburban mom recently shopping for athletic shoes or a new car? It's hard to know from a programming point of view whether she's already purchased a pair of Reeboks or an SUV.

And there's no way for her to correct that conversation either. Consider that if you already had that information, you could suggest compression running gear or a jogging stroller, catchall floor mats or an infant car seat. The automated hypertargeting might be a foot in the door, but it's not a conversation. Customers are moving targets, and a marketing plan should take into account the scope of the customer journey - beyond the single slice of life that earned them a targeted ad.

While a targeted ad may remind a customer of an item they were looking for previously, it can't engage them beyond a visual blip. With preference management - the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication - you're more likely to get a full view of your customer. By using their self-provided information to engage them, the consumers are apt to turn to you in the beginning of their customer journeys. Meaning they're no longer a moving target, they're taking you along on the trip.






About the Author: 
Eric V. Holtzclaw is  Chief Strategist  of PossibleNOW. He's a researcher, writer, serial entrepreneur and challenger-of-conventional wisdom. His book with Wiley Publishing on consumer behavior - Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior - hit bookstores last summer. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.



Follow me on Twitter: @eholtzclaw | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Holtzclaw

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