The title of this post is a spin on a recent article in the New York Times about the recent ANA conference entitled, 1200 Marketers Can't be Wrong, The Future Is In Consumer Behavior.
First things first, 1200 marketers can certainly get things wrong. Especially if they ever thought (at least in the 21st century) that the future of marketing was not heavily rooted in Consumer Behavior. Furthermore, they will be wrong if they leverage behavioral targeting as indiscriminately as other trends in marketing in media have so thoughtlessly been exploited.
Steve Ballmer Lays It All On The Line For "Well Targeted Advertising"
The article talks about Steve Ballmer's initiative to invest in "well targeted advertising", "as aggressively as we've ever invested in anything". I get worried when I hear statement such as this as, it wreaks of tonnage at the expense of strategy. Microsoft's acquisition of aQuantive certainly showed us that money is not an object when it comes to investing in digital advertising, I just hope (for MSN's sake) that capital is not the only thing being invested. I have yet to see digital marketing strategy come out of MSN that rivals the like of Google, despite their large investments.
Thinking Outside The Ad Server
While their are a great many new digital tools that can aid in garnering information about consumer behavior, the more people look to automated solutions with no human touch, the less effective these tools will become. Don't believe me? Just look at the types of "targeted" ads that eBay runs on Google Adwords (and other paid search platforms).
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of digital marketing tactics, and it is my belief that if enough marketers begin to let machines handle the bulk of their strategies, consumers will become just as desensitized to relevant ads as they are to irrelevant ones, and we will be back where we started at the beginning of the 21st century.
I Am Not Really That Cynical, Really!
My aim in this post was not to be a cynic, rather it was to remind marketers that digital marketing will not cure all. The key is knowing how best to leverage new tools in an intelligent, strategic manner, period!