• Solving the Out-of-Context Conundrum Ain't Rocket Science
    From communism to market-timed stock trading, most theories look good on paper, but are destined for failure in practice. Why? They fail to consider the fact that emotional, irrational -- and just plain unpredictable -- humans will be the ones carrying those theories out. Well, this may come as a shocker, but the folks on the receiving end of behaviorally-targeted (BT) ads ain't robots, either.
  • Think You've Got Me Pegged? Think Again.
    I'll admit it: I'm not much of a Behavioral Insider. Behavioral Observer might be a better description. There's an anthropological connotation to the label that I suppose is fitting for a journalist type such as myself charged with commenting on an industry I've only viewed as an onlooker rather than an insider. Yet, despite my lack of insider experience, I've always felt qualified to opine about advertising and marketing. After all, I've been targeted by it my entire life.
  • Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
    When eBay acquired Shopping.com for $620 million last month, I'm sure more than a few people had flashbacks to the pre-bubble Internet glory days. I, however, had a slightly different reaction. I think that eBay and other stalwart Internet companies are in line with the old adage that if you solve people's problems then you have a good chance of success. In fact, I think that the Shopping.com solution is instructive for the behavioral targeting industry as we confront many of those same challenges.
  • Reacting to Behavior
    Working for a relationship marketing agency, I am always amazed when I meet with new clients who have complex funnels of customer engagement. Even more amazing to me, is when asked what they do at the end of each funnel they say, "Aha, that's where we hit them with the ad to buy the 8780!" I have news for you. If all your responses are the same regardless of what data you gather on the customer, then all you have constructed is an elaborate monologue. What you want to do instead, is change your message to match the behavior. Imagine …
  • Anyone for Tennis?
    Roger Federer steps up to the baseline. He checks the ball in his hand, bounces it... once, twice, three times in his preserve routine. He brings the ball to the racket face and then tosses it up into the air... the serve screams over the net and nicks the tape. Ace. Most of us can only dream of achieving this level of tennis acumen. For most of us, our day jobs relegate us to spectators or - at best - weekend warriors. However, even if you don't have Wimbledon aspirations, once you know the rudiments of the game and …
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