Excite­ment is build­ing around here as we get closer to the 2014 Adobe Sum­mit, sched­uled for late March. The Sum­mit is one of my favorite events of the year—full of energy, knowl­edge, and oppor­tu­nity. Par­tic­i­pants can net­work with other mar­keters, get face-to-face time with Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud experts, and learn about inno­v­a­tive tools and solutions.

At this year’s Sum­mit, I’ll be host­ing a ses­sion on per­son­al­iza­tion and opti­miza­tion, key ele­ments in any suc­cess­ful mar­ket­ing cam­paign. Lead­ing up to this, I thought I’d talk a lit­tle about how busi­nesses can—and should—use pre­dic­tive tar­get­ing for more suc­cess­ful campaigns.

Who Are Your Customers?

Although demo­graph­ics are impor­tant, they shouldn’t be the sole basis of your mar­ket analy­sis. All too often, a busi­ness owner will cre­ate a pro­file, such as “my ideal cus­tomer is a woman between 25 and 35 who lives in the Tri-State area, works full-time, has two chil­dren, and makes more than $50,000 per year,” and use that as the foun­da­tion for a cam­paign. To truly under­stand your ideal cus­tomers, you need to go beyond out­ward appearances.

Psy­cho­graph­ics can help round out the pic­ture, going beyond cold, hard facts to find out what makes buy­ers tick. Using a tool like Adobe Social, mar­keters can pin­point a customer’s emo­tions and sen­ti­ment toward your brand and their expe­ri­ence, which can also be dri­vers of pur­chas­ing behav­ior and loyalty.

Behav­ioral tar­get­ing goes beyond demo­graph­ics and psy­cho­graph­ics, and looks at what cus­tomers are actu­ally doing. Cam­paigns are tar­geted based on a vari­ety of cus­tomer activ­i­ties, such as

  • Vis­its to your web­site (fre­quency and duration)
  • Site nav­i­ga­tion, clicks, and spe­cific page views
  • On-site searches
  • Pur­chased items (and con­versely, aban­doned carts)
  • Entry of cus­tomer data into online forms
  • Tech­ni­cal infor­ma­tion (i.e., device used, browser type, and geolocation)
  • Cus­tomer value (total amount purchased)

Using pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics in the Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud, you can iden­tify spe­cific mar­ket seg­ments, score cus­tomers based on expected response, and con­duct mar­ket­ing attri­bu­tion across all dig­i­tal and offline channels.

Con­sid­er­ing all of these data types is the only way to form a well-rounded, 360-degree view of your customer—which in turn enables you to give them pre­cisely what they want and need, at just the right time.

Expand Results with Off-site Targeting

Behav­ioral tar­get­ing doesn’t have to be lim­ited to a prospect’s inter­ac­tions with your site. Dis­play ad retar­get­ing, as well as search retar­get­ing, has proven highly effec­tive in cap­tur­ing new customers.

For exam­ple, Mar­riott may want to tar­get trav­el­ers who have searched for “lux­ury hotels” on Google, but haven’t actu­ally vis­ited Marriott’s site. Using search retar­get­ing, Mar­riott could dis­play tar­geted ads to these users, trig­gered by their Google activity.

Another pre­dic­tive strat­egy is “looka­like tar­get­ing.” Your cur­rent cus­tomers are already con­vert­ing, so you already have access to pre­cise clues for how to tar­get new ones. Based on your exist­ing cus­tomer pro­files, you can actively seek out sim­i­lar, qual­i­fied prospects. One method is to iden­tify web­sites where “looka­likes” are likely to visit and then use dis­play ad retar­get­ing. Or, if your busi­ness caters to a local clien­tele, you can tai­lor your cam­paign to prospects who share the same geolo­ca­tion as your cur­rent customers.

Using these strate­gies, you’ll be able to cap­ture a new audi­ence that shares many of the same char­ac­ter­is­tics and behav­iors as your cur­rent vis­i­tors and cus­tomers, but have not yet vis­ited your site. A tool like Adobe Audi­ence Man­ager can help you aug­ment your audi­ence infor­ma­tion from mul­ti­ple data sources.

The Ever-Evolving Cus­tomer Profile

Behav­ioral tar­get­ing is a highly effec­tive way to con­nect with more qual­i­fied prospects and boost cus­tomer value, sim­ply by lever­ag­ing his­tor­i­cal and in-context data and using real-time ana­lyt­ics to tar­get your audi­ences. With so many sources of infor­ma­tion, it’s eas­ier than ever to build a thor­ough, cohe­sive profile—and to turn those insights into action.

In my next post, I’ll talk about the impor­tance of retar­get­ing, and mak­ing adjust­ments to cam­paigns based on cus­tomer response (or nonresponse).

Each of your cus­tomers has a story to tell—are you listening?