Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sharing The Wealth: The Key To Highly Targeted Marketing

Consumers today have a general mistrust of sharing their data online (whether it be through registration or cookie tracking) because they don't know how that information is being used and they know someone's getting rich off it but it ain't them.

Over the past few days, I've laid the foundation for my hypothesis that cutting out the middlemen from the advertising equation is the best way for marketers to obtain the data needed to successfully target their messages and acquire new customers.

By middlemen, I refer to all the various media and technology companies that collect information about people (whether it be personally-identifiable or not) and broker that data and/or sell ad space to marketers.

Instead, I propose marketers pay consumers directly for their data and the ability to craft highly targeted messages for them.

To see if something like this could fly, 2 questions need to be answered:

1. Will people share their data if directly compensated?
2. Will marketers pay for the ability to get people’s data and show them targeted ads?

Last summer, I decided to see if any marketers would put their money where my mouth is. Under the ghost name “Highly Targeted,” I started an eBay auction offering my data in exchange for cash (which would be donated to Susan G. Komen) and the right to deliver ads to me for 30 days.

Here was the listing...
Item: MY DATA: Non-Personally Identifiable Info for Marketing

Highly Targeted

Attention Marketers:

Target Ads to Me Based on My Non-Personally Identifiable Information!

It doesn't get any better (or easier) than this... Stop wasting your time trying to guess if I’m in your target audience and what TV shows you can reach me on -- even though I'm in the demo, I don't watch 24. And if I did, I’d tivo through the commercials.

Don’t throw your money away by advertising on billboards, radio stations and bathrooms -- if I’m going to divert my attention from walking, driving, or peeing, it will be to check my Blackberry. Oh, that reminds me…

Forget about advertising on cell-phones -- you thought the backlash from pop-up ads and spam email was bad?

Don’t rely on behavioral or IP data to better target online ads -- all that past web history you have for my home computer? Half of that's my wife’s. And my work PC? I don't live in NYC but that's what my network IP address will tell you. And good luck trying to marry my offline purchases with my other profile data -- remember what happened when DoubleClick bought Abacus back in the day? Besides, that stuff’s just creepy.

Media fragmentation got you down?

Still reeling from the impact of DVR’s, iPods, Do-Not-Call, pop-up and spam blockers?

Well, have I got the answer for you…

I am offering one lucky marketer a treasure trove of my non-personally identifiable information to help you better target ads to me.

Here’s what you’ll get if you win this auction:

-My internet search queries from a recent 30 day period
-My web surfing history from a recent 30 day period
-My online and offline purchase activity from a recent 30 day period
-My Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Marital status and Geo location
-The right to target one ad per day to me for 30 days (now that’s what I call opt-in!)
-Ads can be created in any desired format (video, text, graphic, audio, etc.) but must be delivered via email

Behold the true promise of one-to-one marketing.

But wait, there’s more…

Not only do I certify that I will watch/read/listen to your ads but I will also provide daily feedback as to whether or not the ad appealed to me and if I’d like additional information about the product or service.

Face it, the times they are a changin’ and consumers are in control. It won’t be long before paying consumers to view your ads will be the norm (or at least paying them for the right to access their data). Use me as a beta test to determine how best to target ads based on a variety of non-personally identifiable data.

There’s only one catch -- you must promise to use my data solely for the purpose of targeting advertising over a 30 day period and you must agree not to disclose my data to any 3rd party. That’s not to much to ask, is it?

So how much is all my data actually worth? Let’s start the bidding at $100* and find out. (Did I mention how much disposable income I have? Buy my data and find out just how I’ve spent it in a recent 30 day period. For now, though, let’s just say that I am very brand loyal and have a high lifetime value. )

Buy my data today!

*Note: all proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Tomorrow, I’ll reveal the results of the auction and the industry buzz it generated.

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