As I was doing my online holiday shopping this weekend, I couldn’t help noticing how precise behavioral targeting has become. They were right: I did like that pair of shoes, handbag, scarf and rhinestone-studded dog collar. Four purchases later, I was proof that this form of targeting works.
As early adopters of behavioral targeting, retailers and e-commerce sites have long used the technique to improve the relevance of their product offers to individual visitors. But these strategies are just as applicable for more-complex business-to-business selling. Whether you are selling b-to-c or b-to-b, the online interaction between a buyer and the content offer needs to be relevant and engaging. To be relevant, the content has to be personalized to meet the buyers’ needs, desires and expectations. To be engaging, you need to deliver the right content to the right buyer at the right time in the buying process.
This isn’t a new concept: Most b-to-b organizations are already implementing some form of behavioral targeting through their Web site. They track the browsing patterns and behavior of the visitor and analyze his or her interests to serve up content that will satisfy those interests and encourage a longer stay on the site. Even after the visitor goes elsewhere on the Web, retargeting techniques using ad-serving platforms detect cookies and use them to determine if a content offer should be displayed.
We’ve seen a new trend emerge in this direction: Best-in-class b-to-b marketing organizations are implementing behavioral targeting techniques as part of their inbound and outbound marketing programs to deliver relevant content offers to buyers before they even land on the Web site.
Display ads embedded in emails and used across online channels, and recent advances in display ad technology allow:
Buyers will continue to expect more personalization and customization, so look beyond traditional forms of behavioral targeting for greater precision in delivering offers that are more relevant, valuable and persuasive to the buyer at every stage of the buying cycle.
Jennifer Ross is Senior Research Director of Marketing Leadership Strategies at SiriusDecisions. Throughout her 20 years as an executive-level marketer, Jennifer has employed integrated, multi-channel inbound/outbound marketing campaigns to generate demand, increase brand identity and awareness, and drive business growth. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @Jenross17.