Behavioral targeting is the new watchword of Web and mobile marketing. The buzz has now hit the 100 decibel level and I'm starting to go a little deaf.
Direct marketers have been talking about behavioral targeting probably before most of us were born. What we meant was buying behavior. If someone had responded to a direct marketing offer — in just about any way, shape or form — they had the behavior we were looking for.
Because of my DM DNA, that's still my bias.
Behavioral targeting now means something quite different. If someone visits a marketer's web site selling cell phones but doesn't convert to a customer, that's their "behavior." With the targeting available now, a savvy direct marketer can now serve relevant banner ads to this individual as they are "encountered" on the Web — even if they're not on a cell phone or technology site.
That's a very non-direct-marketing way of looking at behavior — and something that wasn't possible before the advent of this technology. And here's why: general agencies were never really interested in changing behavior. Their focus has been to change awareness and attitudes.
I'm okay with that — but I still find the new definition of behavioral targeting a little disconcerting based on my DM roots.