Holiday Behavior

Year in, year out, I’ve been accused of doing things at the last minute. You name it, I’ve done it late. This applies to everything, from mowing the lawn to taking out the trash to turning in my homework.

So you can imagine what it’s like come the holidays. I’m one of those dazed consumers you see at the mall. You know what I’m talking about, that person who seems completely lost in a sea of shoppers the day before Christmas. So though Christmas is still nearly two months away, for the first time in many years, I’m actually thinking about getting my holiday shopping done earlier rather than later.

No longer will I be that lost individual at the mall. Instead, I will be well informed regarding what to purchase and will conduct most of my research in advance. For me, and plenty of other holiday shoppers this season, instead of going to the mall I’ll go online to research different products, then proceed to the URL of my favorite e-tailer to purchase.

Is there a place at the strategy table for behavioral targeting this holiday season?

Yes. Although the issues behavioral targeting addresses are year-round in scope, they’re particularly relevant to the holiday shopping season.

So what are some of the marketing issues behavioral targeting can address this upcoming holiday season?

First, there’s the issue of inventory, or, rather, the lack of available impressions and sponsorship opportunities when looking at certain retail channels and consumer information.

Thus, as any advertiser knows, delivering the right message to the right target consumer is extraordinarily difficult to do when every ad out there is for the latest gadget or toy. Consequently, if advertisers can pinpoint their target audience with greater accuracy through behavioral targeting, they stand a greater chance of both their message and brand standing out.

It helps enormously to reach consumers while they’re researching products. For example, an electronics manufacturer targets through a behavioral network when consumers conduct product comparisons on either a shopping site or a portal retail channel.

In addition to segmenting based on consumer behavior, we can segment the actual creative message. Segmentation can be focused on where that consumer is in the shopping process or tailored to someone just beginning to show interest. Creative messaging could be more of a direct response approach, as opposed to a brand message.

Better yet, if the segment is more likely to purchase, incentives to do so can be offered. The reality of online shopping is fundamentally the same as in the offline world. It comprises buyers and window shoppers (or in this case, virtual shoppers).

The fact that online consumers’ purchase behavior mirrors that of offline consumers is another place where behavioral targeting plays an important role. When it comes to shopping cart abandonment, marketers can always retarget. Behavioral targeting makes it possible to deliver a message pertaining to the abandonment of the shopping cart. Better still, it presents an opportunity to up-sell, just as you’d experience when shopping at a brick-and-mortar store.

Although I don’t particularly enjoy holiday shopping, I will say that as a marketer, behavioral targeting will make things much easier this holiday season. I’ll watch to see if behavioral vendors can create behavioral segments geared toward the holiday shopping season.

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