As someone who has lived through many years of technological advances, I'm often reminded of how fleeting some of these breakthroughs can be in retrospect. For example, in the past two decades alone, I've been weaned on and have totally abandoned such world-changing things as the Sony Walkman, VCRs, floppy disks, TV antennas, GIF-based banner ads, and record players, to name a few. My point is that technology is always in flux and always evolving, and the ways that we do things today may be very different tomorrow.
The list above represents just a few forms of media playback. I suspect it would be sobering to consider other technological comings and goings in the fields of transportation, medicine, and manufacturing as well.
I bring this up because I often run into a certain level of technological "disfocus" when I work with my clients that I feel gets in the ways of real marketing challenges and goals. For example, from time to time I will work closely with a client who insists that they want to include a technology like Twitter as part of their marketing mix. While there's nothing wrong with embracing new ways to get things done, the problem comes when they are unable to explain why they want that technology. Does the technology offer solutions that will help set marketing goals? Does the technology offer a unique channel of communication that will help the conversation stand out from the crowd? Is the technology being considered just because it's new and cool?
For those of us who dwell on the audience targeting side of the fence, we've also seen a huge evolution of the technologies we use and the methodologies that got us here. The concepts behind contextual targeting have evolved to include behavioral targeting, which has evolved further to include data-driven audience targeting. While the tools have changed, the central core behind the use of these tools has pretty much stayed the same: how can I reach the right person with the right message at the right time for the right price?
In fact, that question has been at the core of advertising since the dawn of advertising, but it has only been in recent years that we have developed the tools and methods that allow us to truly control and measure the process that can best answer this question.
Audience targeting is still a relatively new science. There are plenty of areas for improvement and new breakthroughs being made every day. However, at the core of all this progress sit the fundamentals. I wanted to share with you a few thoughts to consider:
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
Rob Graham is the CCT (chief creative technologist) of Trainingcraft, Inc., where he heads up development of customized training programs for a wide range of digital marketing, entrepreneurial development, and digital media clients.
A 20 year veteran of digital media, Rob has served as the CEO of a multimedia development company; an interactive media strategist; a rich media production specialist; a Web analytics consultant; a corporate trainer and seminar leader; and a chief marketing officer.
When he isn't on the road presenting training workshops, Rob teaches at Harvard University, Emerson College, and the University of Massachusetts - Lowell where he teaches classes on Digital Media Development, Web Store Creation, Software Programming, Business Strategies, and Interactive Marketing Best Practices.
He is the author of "Fishing From a Barrel," a guide to using audience targeting in online advertising, and "Advertising Interactively," which explores the development and uses of rich-media-based advertising. He has been an industry columnist covering interactive marketing, digital media, and audience targeting topics since 1999.
March 19, 2014