The idea of targeting and retargeting is not new. What’s changing is the potential for cross-device targeting. We now have the capability to take the search done for an Armani necktie on a PC and use it as a trigger to send a mobile user a related communication at a later point.
But should we?
Few are as equipped to answer that question as Google’s Jason Spero, who literally has written The Mobile Playbook that is relied on by so many marketers.
“If you admire someone's shoes or their tie, in the mobile and the digital world when you didn't have connectivity at that moment, you would file it away in your head or make a note to yourself,'” Spero said in an interview for my book, The Art of Mobile Persuasion.
“As human beings, we've always had impulses, fears, hopes. What happens when you see that tie, you have connectivity. You can act on it in a way that you couldn't in previous eras. The idea of persistent connectivity makes it possible for you to act on all those impulses. You may not act on all of them. It's probably a bad thing if you act on them all because you are probably buying stuff that you don't need and tweeting out stuff that people don't want to read. But the idea of connectivity means that you can.”
“The consumer knows that he or she is connected and empowered in all these ways,” Spero explained. “The consumer's expectation is they want an easy way to buy an Armani tie if they decide to. And that's a combination of the Macy's app and Google search and maybe image search in time. Lots of different things will fuel that. But all are powered by the idea that you have a broadband connection with you constantly.
“The consumer also knows that their device has a sense of geospacial relations. You as a consumer know that with your device at any point, with a couple of exceptions, it can tell you what's around you to help you solve problems. You can go out and get the world's information with your connection or you can map the physical world around you. You know the nearest place to get a hamburger. Or which subway will get you to the Upper East Side. Or what the check-in time is at your hotel. All these things are now available to you: the digital world and the physical world at your service.”
And with that, Spero said, comes a need for marketers to look at the world differently.
“If you start to talk about it as a commercial journey, we used to in the digital world sort of be satisfied if you will with engaging the consumer throughout her digital journey,” he told me. “But because we just said that the consumer journey is in and out of the physical worlds, presumably across many different devices, the digital experience now has to evolve.”
Ryan Craver, former Senior Vice President, Strategy, of Hudson’s Bay, told me in a The Art of Mobile Persuasion interview that he believes that targeting and retargeting is all about catering to the consumer.
Said Craver, who brought innovation into Lord & Taylor among other efforts: “If you are shopping Armani on your mobile phone, or searching for it on your mobile phone, or on your desktop computer the night before, and then you bring yourself into retailer: as long as you've been asked up front, ‘Are you willing to share your location, are you willing to share past browsing behavior?’ and then the marketer provides the customer something as part of the ad—perhaps a discount or exclusive content or something else--I think people are slowly but surely coming around to understanding that that is the way in which marketing is going to be served. It is also something that you need to pay attention to in terms of how often you send it, and how frequently you come after them.”
Another example of what Craver thought about when he started using beacons to know that opted-in users are in the brick and mortar location: “We thought a lot about cart abandonment online and how frequently we need to do something similar in stores. Certain online stores on cart abandonment, like Amazon, will hit you up the day after, hit you up seven days after, and hit you up maybe two weeks after. There are other stores, like Urban Outfitters, that will even hit you up six months later.”
So Craver and his team set business rules.
“For us as a retailer, when you come in for that Armani, if we hit you once and then we hit you two visits later, we thought that might be a bit alienating and reaching too far back,” he said. “But if it's immediate, meaning it was within the last couple of days, I think it's worthwhile. I think people are becoming desensitized to Big Brother and to this creepiness factor.”
And, surprising to some, people don’t mind being targeting. In fact, under the right circumstances, they might even welcome it.
(article first appeared on imediaconnection.com - http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2016/01/18/serving-a-consumer-who-actually-wants-to-be-retargeted/)