Holiday Behavioral Targeting Wish List

We’re past Labor Day now. The weather’s starting to cool, Halloween decorations are popping up everywhere, and many are turning their thoughts to holiday preparations. The kids are certainly making their wish lists, and we marketers and advertisers should be making behavioral targeting wish lists. If you’ve been a good little marketer this year, what would you want to see in your stocking? Hopefully, I’m on the “nice” list and Santa will agree.

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a good marketer this year, so in addition to that pony I still want from last year, here’s what I hope you will bring me.

First, I want the perfect behavioral targeting practitioner to add to our already crack team. This is an experienced marketer who understands media consumption and technology and is motivated by client wins. This person, who thinks big picture, is a media junkie who’s constantly on top of the newest channels to reach consumers online. But she can balance scale and opportunity so we don’t chase tiny trails or dead ends. He’s a big thinker but also manages to stay on top of the current details of our behavioral targeting programs and all the other programs in the media mix that support it. She is a natural collaborator who seeks out insights from complementary disciplines and builds effective and lasting relationships with media partners. This person thinks long term but can align programs for optimal results in whatever window the client requires. He has the confidence to guide both internal teams and the client firmly and the skill to create solid forecasts to back up his recommendations. This person understands consumers’ privacy concerns and safeguards the public trust. Finally, this person knows how to use data, understanding how to look for patterns and how to break consumers into audience segments that are relevant to the products and services we are advertising.

Santa, I’d also like the perfect client. My perfect client may be looking to test but has a long-term view of program success and can clearly articulate goals to help me translate them into quantifiable metrics. While we track the metrics closely together, the perfect client also understands the art and science of any media endeavor, values all the exposure that is delivered, and factors that into any program review. He shares full information in a timely manner because he wants us to be on strategy, even as it shifts, and understands the futility of directing qualified traffic to a page that has been overhauled, where tags have been dropped or even deleted. It doesn’t hurt if this client has sufficient budget to match objectives. She has the stomach for roller coasters while we learn what works and what doesn’t, because each program is different. She is willing to test out variables and has a commitment to learning from the lessons as a campaign returns information. He’s willing and able to convert program feedback into revised program elements to enhance results. That might mean changes in the site, creative, promos, and so forth. The perfect client is also an internal advocate for the hard work we are doing and makes sure we have access to all the relevant decision makers to present results and ideas. This client’s looking for a partner.

My last request, Santa, may be a bit trickier. See, this gift doesn’t come from you but from the behavioral targeting industry. I want the perfect behavioral targeting industry. I want more transparency from the networks. I want to know where my advertising is going to run and who’s going to see it there. I want more than a black box, even one that consistently delivers results. I want end-of-campaign reporting that helps me understand the consumer dynamics at play so that my behavioral targeting programs contribute to the ongoing intelligence we can apply to improve performance broadly for clients. I want there to be standards and guidelines, a common language and lexicon, so when I’m promised something as a marketer, I know what I should expect. I want a stable set of suppliers who are committed to real innovation. I want professionals on my business who are fully trained and responsive. I want 100 percent guarantees that behavioral targeting practices don’t violate privacy standards or consumer trust. At the same time I want a true, dedicated educational effort so consumers know they have nothing to fear and have much to gain by supporting the technologies behind targeted advertising systems.

I hope my good behavior this past year has earned me these gifts. I promise to use them wisely and share them with the other good marketers.



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