Answer: B-to-b marketers would be wise to first look before they leap and determine clearly defined objectives for why they are using any particular form of audience targeting, and that includes behavioral targeting. While behavioral targeting allows marketers to better serve customers, research indicates that Web users are growing more suspicious of their online behavior being tracked. This distrust represents a potential threat to the efficacy of behavioral targeting and its continued growth.
The key to effective behavioral targeting is relevance. The learning gained from tracking behavior allows marketers to deliver more meaningful, relevant content that will generate greater response, increased conversions and greater ROI.
Just knowing that a customer has clicked on the business section of an online newspaper and opted to read a story about preparing for retirement is only the start. A smart financial services firm must nurture this budding relationship by making sure the ensuing ad that reader encounters or content he or she receives is relevant and extends the brand relationship in a meaningful way.
Brand consistency is also key. The Web site that an ad leads a prospect to, or the content delivered against an offer, must always be in harmony with every aspect of the brand.
Behavioral targeting represents a technological solution for what all marketers strive for: better understanding of the customer to ensure a more positive, extended brand relationship leading to greater sales. Just be sure the message is relevant and in sync with the total marketing mix.
Carl Anderson is president-CEO of b-to-b ad agency Doremus.