Marketing|Demand Creation Blog: Thoughts on strategy, lead optimization, social media and the digital space

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Behavioral Targeting, Morphing Taxis and the World of Minority Report

In my 1/19/05 post, “Marketer’s Dream, Privacy Wonk’s Nightmare: IPTV Coming Soon…ish,” I talked about the marketing promise and associated privacy fears of Internet-enabled, truly targeted TV advertising. Now it seems we’re just a little closer to the advertising future depicted in the movie Minority Report with the February 2005 issue of CMO Magazine reporting Clear Channel’s rollout of “Smart Tops” — Flash animated ad boards starting to appear atop some metro taxi cabs. At first, the LCD ad displays sound just like splashy updates to the printed standard, but what the article goes on to reveal is the system’s ability to integrate GPS technology, allowing ad targeting to the cab’s home base area demographics. This is pretty amazing stuff, opening the potential to serve a customized ad to a particular sales territory, neighborhood profile or local dialect. Its just one example of behavioral targeting (using technology to show advertising triggered by a user’s recent online web surfing habits) that is spilling over from the online to the real world.

Another article, “Location, Location, Location” (March 2005 CMO Magazine) touched on the back end tracking mechanisms of behavioral targeting, explaining how geolocation software is being used by the likes of online retailers, banks and other businesses to discern the geographic location of their online visitors. Privacy fears aside, in a world where we’re visually assaulted daily by thousands of ad impressions of little relevance to us and when more than 90% of email in the next 5 years is projected to be spam, overall this technology and behavioral targeting practices in general could be a good thing for marketers and consumers alike. I know I certainly don’t mind smart promotions properly targeted to my interests and needs.

With some media companies claiming only 8 to 10% of the total ad impressions they deliver are behaviorally targeted, there’s a lot of untapped potential for this technology to better serve customers and optimize marketing investment in campaigns to drive new business.

Moore, Meg Mitchell. “Location, Location, Location.” CMO Magazine. March 2005, pg 13
Shein, Esther. “Wherever You Go, There They Are.” CMO Magazine. March 2005, pg 59
Caggiano, Christopher. “These Taxis Hail You.” CMO Magazine. February 2005, pg 14
Joseph Mann Sunday, March 20, 2005


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