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Behavioral Marketing and What It All Means.

If the Internet user is unaware then absolutely.  Would you like a Google representative hanging out behind you in your house making tracking notes of where you visit on the Web?  How about letting them access your internal microphone and Web cam without your consent?  All are great sources of research for the marketer, but not so right in the ethical realm.  However, if, the user is “overtly” aware, what an amazing tool.  I don’t agree with Google’s decision to automatically opt-in every user in reference to their new “interest-based-advertising” model.  It’s not too hard to set it so every time a browser is used to access Google for the first time since implementation,  to ask the user if they would like to approve Google to track their experience for behavioral marketing research. As long as we are aware, and provide consent, up front, and have control, then all is well in testing land.

There is so much about the Web experience that we don’t notice already.  Think about how many scripts, forms, links, styles, and so on are accessed when you land on a single page.  With ever-growing amounts of data filling the Web second-by-second, it will be easy for behavioral targeting to keep on running in the background, shaping our experience.  Life is full of patterns and that is all this is about; figuring out the patterns of personas and then identifying the niche molds each one fits into and delivering pertinent content that will lead to the conversion—at least in theory.  I have often wondered,  “which of the ‘agencies’ that ‘don’t exist’ are tapping my microphone today?”  It’s not paranoia, I could care less if they watch my every move, because they still can’t get inside the mind.  But with all this evolution we are not far from that I suppose.  Point is, there is no reason to fear these developments, if we are going to evolve, we need to evolve with the applications technology provides in ways that promote the evolution.  If we don’t, we will just continue destroying ourselves.  I really see ways that we can use the Internet to understand people, and what we really care about, think about, and want to do, all by harnessing the opportunities of these developments.

The applications are truly mind shattering and as people become more aware and willing, they will run to have these technologies help shape their day.  Whether monthly, or annually, the tracking efforts really need to follow the actions dictated by the users.  Seems like long trails of cookies will lead to consumed enlightenment.  The most obvious efforts would be when members log in and access accounts.

Marketers wouldn’t have any interest in enhancing your experience unless there was a conversion to be achieved.  If there was no conversion, there would be no marketer.  It’s like the old saying, “if a tree falls?”  Companies rely on marketers because that’s how the butcher sells his meat to the hungry family.  As with all these innovations, it comes down to ethics.  What are the motivations of these customizations and tests?  Is the company/marketer disclosing what they will be doing for the consumer, and how the data will be utilized, stored, and who will have access.  There should always be a direct feed for a consumer to go in and wipe out their “trail” at anytime.  Maybe as in including a browser plug-in that would allow you to start, stop, and delete behavior targeted testing, site-by-site.  Looking at this topic in a world-view really makes you look past so much.  This is one of those areas where the sum of the parts greatly overtakes the whole.  Without tapping into the personal experience, there will be no insight, just as traditional media has proven.  The power, in my mind, is that it really puts the consumer back in control.  The company has to bend to our demands, rather than the consumer settling for something was made in response to those “chunky” insights provided by demographic segmenting.


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