When do you sever ties with your behavioral-targeted plan?
Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised." --Denis Waitley, American motivational speaker and author
The plan you've sweated over for months to create is finally approved (after much hesitation and doubt on the part of your client, of course). The plan launches and you postpone your social life to monitor results in what feels like real time.
Doesn't look good. You optimize. No improvement. You optimize more. Nothing. You collapse into your ergonomically uncomfortable chair and think, "Now what?"
The answer may be the dreaded cancellation, although making this decision may require overcoming some psychological hurdles. One of the challenges is the risk of losing credibility with the client. In most cases, you're the one who recommended and defended the strategy. The other challenge is understanding the issues and how to correct them for future programs. The biggest challenge is knowing when it's time to call it quits.
It takes courage to try something new and even more courage to acknowledge a breakdown. There's no shame in taking a break to reassess your plan. In the long run, everyone benefits. If you're indecisive on when to cancel, here are some signs that it's time to take a break.
A communication breakdown can come from several places: agency, publisher, client, and consumer:
It may also be time to cancel if a campaign is received negatively. Consumers may complain they're being stalked or they feel that their privacy is infringed upon. This may be a result of the messaging, but it may also be a consequence of how the publisher handles its targeting platform. Since there are no hard-and-fast rules about behavioral targeting, it's up to each publisher as to how it handles it. If the majority of feedback coming in is negative, take a break and rethink the plan.
Wasn't Meant to Be
I'm going to sound like my mother here, but sometimes it just isn't mean to be. Behavioral targeting isn't always the right solution, or perhaps it is, but not with the partners that were available. It could be a timing thing. Don't take it personally. Reflect on what happened, think of how you'd do it differently next time, and move on.
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Based in New York, Anna Papadopoulos has held several digital media positions and has worked across many sectors including automotive, financial, pharmaceutical, and CPG.
An advocate for creative media thinking and an early digital pioneer, Anna has been a part of several industry firsts, including the first fully integrated campaign and podcast for Volvo and has been a ClickZ contributor since 2005. She began her career as a media negotiator for TBS Media Management, where she bought for media clients such as CVS and RadioShack. Anna earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from St. John's University in New York.
Anna's ideas and columns represent only her own opinion and not her company's.
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