Direct marketing is the art of presenting a consumer with a an offer that is compelling enough to elicit a trackable response. Creating a compelling offer continues to pose challenges in many marketing channels such as direct mail and telemarketing channels, but it is becoming easier for online marketing, with the help of behavioral targeting. By tracking consumer web surfing habits, marketers are able to use that data to offer consumers what they expect them to want, which can enhance their online experience and generate revenue for marketers.
Behavioral targeting is utilized to maximize the effect of “intuitive marketing,” giving consumers what they want the moment they probably want it. This helps websites stay ahead of the curve by enhancing the consumer web surfing experience. Online marketers know that if they make the consumer a compelling offer at the time they are most susceptible to processing the offer, it is more likely that they will react positively to the offer.
Applications such as Google’s Gmail and Adsense don’t necessarily need to rely on behavioral targeting, as their programs can detect content and provide related advertising links. Websites that might not have this type of keyword tags can be most positively impacted by behavioral targeting. According to an article appearing in CNN, “Behavioral targeting brings capabilities to sites without good or reliable keywords — for example, a social-networking profile that touches on dozens of hobbies and interests at once.”
Online marketing firm eMarketer believes that $1 Billion will be spent on behavioral marketing in 2008, and by 2011, the spending will increase to around $3.8 Billion, up from $220 Million in 2005. This shows the amount of faith marketers have in behavioral targeting, and it appears that its working. As technology continues to develop, I expect there will be new ways to detect what a consumer is looking to find, enabling direct marketers to successfully turn intuition into ROI.