One day I’m going to start an ad agency called Foster, Bias & Sales. Foster, Bias & Sales will succeed because it understands the following marketing truism: In order to get to a sale, you must first foster awareness and positive feeling, then create bias toward your product.
Behavioral targeting in online media is an emerging media tool moving in the right direction. If marketers and media buyers use behavioral targeting as a way to jump right to sales, though, they will only have incremental success. If they use behavioral targeting to foster preference and create bias first, then the selling will be easier – and will allow higher margins. (Markets like that.) A consumer who strides briskly into Best Buy with a specific branded product in mind always walks out with a smile on his/her face. The consumer who meanders into the store looking for a salesperson to help them decide, typically walks out feigning a smile and staring at the bag a lot.
As we move into the era of behavioral targeting, let us not forget Ms. Foster and Mr. Bias.