The Best Online DM Strategy – Somebody Out There Get’s It!


Michael Mayer get’s it!  He posted an article in iMediaConnection recently where he initially sets up the concept of transactional advertising as the next step in direct response advertising online.  His article, The Best Online DM Strategy, opens the door, but requires you to walk through with your thinking cap on.


 


Transactional Advertising conceptionally infers the idea of leveraging known information about a recent transaction for future advertising.  So, basically if someone – a customer – makes a transaction you can leverage that knowledge for targeted advertising.  Hmm.  I think we may have come back to customer re-targeting.  Well, maybe Michael would like us to go and extend this capability further. 


 


While it may be ironic to be doing this on the heels of the FTC filing, at some point we need to get back to the more realistic future of our space.  And maybe we can even find some current technologies that do this today!


 


If an advertiser deploys customer re-targeting such as TruEffect’s DirectServe Technology, than they have the ability to recognize their existing customers, distinguish them from non-customers and message to them differently than they do to prospects while advertising online.  So that means there will be two strategic acquisition online initiatives going on at the same time: prospect acquisitions and customer re-acquisitions.  No longer re-prospecting existing customers, re-targeting promotes transactional advertising at the ad banner level.  Wherever you advertise, you can target customers who recently transacted and promote up-sell opportunities, cross-promote products or otherwise message to a customer based on recent transactional history while advertising anywhere on the internet in real-time.


 


Back to Michael’s Transactional Advertising concept.  If John Smith transacts on Acme.com, then we know something about him.  A record is created in the CRM system such as a customer profile and maybe even a customer segment (i.e., customer type = buyer frequency / value / product preference).  The information known about John can subsequently be leveraged for advertising.


 


What kind of advertising?


 


First there is email.  John’s email address will likely have been acquired during the transaction so now we can target John with relevant messages.  We can embed HTML images in the emails to jazz them up and make them more appealing while tracking receipts, open rates, click-thru’s and so on.  But this campaign can be integrated with banner and offline as well.


 


Online advertising, re-targeting such as DirectServe from TruEffect is the next step.  Re-targeting can drive recurring opportunities by as much as an additional 15-20%, potentially even surpassing the effectiveness of search.


 


Then of course there is dynamic content serving.  Recognizing someone when they land on Acme.com – using first party cookies (like DirectServe) – allows a site to better position messages and products in the most favorable light to maximize responses and trigger additional transactions.


 


What else might Transactional Advertising mean?


 


How about merging transactional advertising knowledge with offline knowledge to create a better picture of the customer.  Now there is an idea – not necessarily a new one but something to touch on. 


 


Cataloguers maintain vast databases on people, demographics, personal identifiable information, buying habits, customer segments, etc.  If we merge the offline information with online transactional information we know that much more about a person.  Then we can leverage offline buying behaviors to promote products and services that we might not otherwise know would appeal to someone in an online environment.  We can also do the same thing in an offline environment.  WOW! 


 


Enter the final stage.  With first party ad serving such as DirectServe, you can collect the click-stream data in anonymous format and create a new class of customer segment and merge that information with your customer records.  So now you can define how a transaction was acquired online as well.  Not just what banner generated a specific click but which banners were seen on which sites at which times.  All of the acquisition marketing history that not only were clicked on, but what was not clicked on as well can be streamed into an anonymous grouping and created a new customer segment model so that you can further characterize customers.


 


What does this mean?  It means that you can combine transactional information, offline information, acquisition knowledge from online and offline and create holistic profiles for targeting.  Then you can target both online and offline through a variety of media with relevant messages.  Transactional advertising?  Relevant advertising. 


 


So would the CCD and US PIRG consider all of this a violation of personal privacy?  Probably.  Would they understand it?  Probably not.  So what do we do from here?  We have a responsibility to start educating the industry and the rest of the world who wants to monitor our industry as we develop and execute these capabilities so that people see the benefits.  Relevance beats SPAM and inundation any day of the week.

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