Buyer Centricity / Digital Transformation / Modern Marketing Culture

Second Time Lucky

Living in the Information Age has some great benefits in terms of the breadth and depth of knowledge available to the average person. However, the sheer volume of options also means that you often get distracted and move on to something else. Our target buyers do too.

Fortunately, technology provides ways for you to have a second chance at reengaging buyers, based on what they did. This is known as behavioral retargeting. However, I’ve found that marketers don’t naturally take advantage of behavioral retargeting. For that reason, your marketing transformation must help them develop a mindset where behavioral retargeting is a completely natural to them and the effort involved is just seen a normal process and not a great hurdle.

Under the right circumstances, any channel can drive a conversation. But, there are many more opportunities for each channel to assist in driving a conversion. One of the most effective ways of doing this digitally is with behavioral retargeting. So we’re all on the same page, think of it this way: you start off going to places online and offline where your buyer is, such as doing marketing to a human resources professional at a Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference or on the SHRM website. That’s behavioral targeting. The follow up act of showing an ad on the SHRM site to that conference attendee is the retargeting part.

The mindset of using behavioral retargeting is critical to any marketing transformation, though it’s much easier said than done because of the level of coordination and planning required. And notice that I did not use a digital example. That’s the other part you have to train marketers to think about. Reinforcing one channel with another works for offline channels too.

With digital, is easier. In a Google AdWords-scenario’s for instance (where behavioral retargeting is often called “remarketing”) people would see your ads as they browse websites in the Google Display Network or as they search for terms related to your products or services on Google. So long as you set cookies on the browsers of website (or other digital property) visitors, you can set up business logic in your marketing automation software that send those specific visitors an equally specific follow up, such as a display ad.

Practically, the business logic can get complex, though, since you don’t want to be a stalker and have a negative effect on your marketing. Pay careful attention to this balance in your transformation. Pushing too hard on the amount of retargeting your marketers do will result in people turning cookies off and even avoiding your content in the future so marketers need to be cautious. Implement frequency capping, use sound business logic (such as only retargeting people who visited your site for more than 20 seconds), and consider alternative means to ensure you maintain a healthy balance.

For example, it’s a no brainer to send an email follow up to someone who left items in your online shopping cart and didn’t purchase (perhaps with a discount on shipping as an added incentive). When they don’t click on this follow up email, don’t send another. Instead, try a different channel.

The options for retargeting are extremely varied and one will likely meet your budget and operational constraints. More importantly – and more challenging, in terms of changing your marketers’ mindset and behavior –you can retarget based on interactions other than those on a website. Ensure marketers consider the full range of options, including:

  • Retargeting with Email/Display Ads based on Website Behavior – This is the example we used above, with an email going to the visitor who didn’t buy the items in the shopping cart. However, any website that collects email (such as for asset registration or even website log in) can adapt this inexpensive technique. For websites that don’t collect email, you can also retarget visitors with display ads through various display ad partners, based on different visit or visitor parameters. Obviously, this isn’t rocket science but you do need to put in some legwork –and you have to think about retargeting in advance.
  • Retargeting with Text Ads based on Search Data —You’ve all seen this. You type a phrase into Google and, in addition to the actual search results, you also see some additional text, specifically results from firms that have paid to listed when those search terms appear. Google Adwords has even expanded this program to include display ads, videos, and other options but the text ads are still the most numerous sponsored results.
  • Retargeting with Display Ads based on Search Data – Data from past website searches on Google, Bing, or Yahoo is like gold. That’s why so many vendors have popped up to help marketers show relevant ads to people who have never visited the organization’s website but have recently searched for keywords related to the organization. These ads then appear on other websites, even the outside edges of some email services.
  • Retargeting with Display Ads on Social Media – My local professional basketball team, the Golden State Warriors, take advantage of a target market that skews young, actively adopts new technology, and uses social media a great deal. The Warriors create a huge variety of ads based on highly detailed segments. These segments can be based on website behavior (i.e. which players visitors like, how recently a buyer visited the site, etc.) or if the buyer installed the Warriors app or if the buyer is a season ticket holder and many other possibilities.
  • Retargeting with Display Ads based on Content Links –  When you share content through a link (via whatever digital format, social media, etc.), you can track and retarget the person who clicked on the link with display ads the same way you would someone who visited your website.

The options are almost endless but, unless using retargeting is already in a marketer’s mind when building a campaign, it does no good. As with any sort of change management, ensure you don’t just share education on retargeting. Make it easy to do, illustrate the behavior you want to see, and measure usage.

Comments are welcome, especially examples of how your organization builds retargeting into your marketing practices.

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