Monday, January 10, 2011

Behavioral targeting = Knowing your customer (let’s not throw the baby with the bathwater)

When I first became interested in CRM systems and business strategies it was because of what I consider to be its core promise: using these systems and business strategies would give any company (organization) the opportunity to know / understand the needs, motivations, desires, pain points, etc. of their customers, and with this knowledge be in the position to deliver better solutions / answers for those needs.

Let’s fast forward to Social CRM… I became super excited about the idea (to the point that I bought the domain) because I realized it did two very important things: 1) shifted the power balance to the customers; many of them (jointly) held now more power that the Company / Organization. And 2) It allowed to gain the same knowledge / understanding of needs I talk about in the paragraph above but now of the group as a whole at the same time as the discrete elements of it (i.e. influencers, social objects, etc.)

Bottom line:  I believe knowing your customer (as an individual and as a member of a group / circle) and catering to their/her needs and desires is a good thing for you (the organization) and them (the customers)

If the above is true; how come there is so much attention / discussion around behavioral tracking and such strong efforts to do something about it? Isn’t behavioral tracking an extension of knowing your customers better and catering to the needs they “express” as they vote with the most valuable currency they have? (Time!).

I think the problem is not on the tracking itself; the problem is on the way we went about putting it to work, what we need to change is:


  • As a user I need to know behavioral tracking is happening 

Knowledge / Understanding:

  • As a user I need to have clarity on what behavioral targeting means ad how it can be used 


  • As a user I need to be provided with simple and readily available means to control when and where my “digital bread crumbs” are captured. 

From my point of view this is precisely what the "THE SELF-REGULATORY PROGRAM FOR ONLINE BEHAVIORAL ADVERTISING" has proposed; it is my hope the FTC follows this sensible approach..

What do you think?

Filiberto Selvas 

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