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Here’s the Skinny on Consumer Behavior!

Lionseye insights from AC Lion
Article By: Sean Weinberg (
Take a look at the ClickZ Article: Five Ways to Avoid Misinterpreting Consumer Behavior
Here’s the skinny. Behavioral Targeting is great, real great; if companies think instead of react.
It’s a theme I’ve been hearing more and more lately – everybody is into behavioral targeting, and it’s not that hard to track consumer behavior, so why are some shops so much more successful than others?
The answer is simple: A one off ain’t enough.
In today’s consumer market (especially within an interactive context) consumers simply aren’t putting that much thought into what they do on the web. I read an article on a Britney Impersonator (the catch is the Britney impersonator is a Brit-He) about 5 minutes ago, it’s outside of my typical browsing experience but I know I’m going to start seeing a different kind of ad from that one click through. Marketers need to think hard about the relevancy of data sets before banking on them. The shops that are succeeding are the ones that took a fuller look at consumer behavior.
Anna Papadopoulos, interactive media director for Euro RSCG 4D, offered 5 suggestions on how to interpret consumer behavior.

  • The behavior pattern is essential. In and of itself, a single behavior is meaningless. For example, just because someone visits an automotive site doesn’t mean she’s in market to buy a car. However, if this person (cookie) visits an automotive site regularly or several automotive sites in a short time and clicks to various similar sections, then a pattern of behavior emerges that can be targeted effectively.
  • Get off their backs. Once a behavioral pattern has been established and acted on, advertisers need to either maintain the communication or get off consumers’ backs. This is also done by observing behavior. Are they clicking on ads? Are they still researching the same product? How long are consumers typically in market for this product? Think about it in personal terms: you wouldn’t keep calling a prospective date if he or she never returned your calls (unless you want a restraining order placed against you).
  • Consumers are paranoid. Consumers want great deals, but most of the behavioral targeted ads available are generic, offering little more than tipping off consumers that they are being targeted (which makes them paranoid and wondering where they were caught). Bottom line: provide value and be transparent.
  • Know your product and audience. If the average purchase cycle for your product is three weeks or if it’s seasonal, targeting consumers out of this time frame (without any acknowledgment back) not only is a waste of money but will also deter future prospects when they are back in the market.
  • Be flexible. Like my twins, no two consumers are the same. Therefore, be willing to offer unique offers and messaging to various consumer groups. For example, if you target sedan buyers on a predominantly woman-oriented site, provide messaging that would speak to this segment and not the same recycled creative running across the rest of the campaign. What’s important to women? Are they moms? How will they be using this product?

I’ll keep you posted next week on what kinds of ads I’ve been seeing lately and how they are related to my online behavior. Shoot me a line if you have any good ‘bad targeting’ stories to share – I’ll post those up too.