How Behavior Will Shape Media

Courtship behavior in Indian Ring necked parakeets
Image by Desert_photographer

If social brought conversations to the last media revolution, then integrating social data into digital media will bring behavior targeting to the next one.

As big data gets more intelligent and we surrender privacy to our digital devices, brands will leverage our individual buying behavior.

I’ve begun playing with the Passport feature on the new version of iOS. While it’s not ready for prime time, Passport offers a glimpse into the future. The mobile phone wallet mirrors international trends of paperless, credit card-less money. Obviously, the apps record every transaction I make, creating a behavioral profile.

A behavior profile for a brand is priceless when it comes to database marketing. The behavior profile allows brands to deliver the ultimate outcome of marketing automation, marketing to the one.

While behavioral targeting has been around for a while, it is becoming increasingly accessible to brands thanks to big data.

Behaviorial marketing combines a couple of theories in the field. Understanding them helps grasp what will surely become a common place approach to consumer and low-dollar transactional business-to business-marketing in the next few years.

Permission Marketing

Market Fresh Apples
Image by Susquehanna River Valley

Seth Godin’s Permission based marketing theory dates back to the late 90s. This assumes you cannot market to someone unless they give permission or opt in.

The mobile device is the ultimate personal device. For example, any application on Passport accesses my data solely with my permission.

Similarly, most people are not willing to give mobile numbers to many applications or brands for texting purposes (In my case, TripIt and Verizon Wireless are the exceptions). But, they are willing to give almost any brand to email to send bacon or spam content.

Millennials are more likely to break this generalization and accept text marketing.
As time progresses, more text marketing will develop, but it will suffer from permission limitations.

This is critical for marketers to understand, as mobile has become a dominant interactive form for online brands. Further complicating matters, customers are beginning to understand the value of their data.

One to One Marketing

I'm on the road of least resistance. I'd rather give up then give in to this. So promise me only one thing would you... Just don't ever make me promises...
Image by ubermommy

When the .com era broke open, the ultimate vision for the internet was an ability to market on one-to-one basis. Marketing to the one was popularized by Drew Bartkiewicz and Bill Zujewsk.

One-to-one marketing involves building unique marketing touches for people based on your database. These touches are supposed to be unique, relevant and contextual, creating a sense of relationship and meaning in the communication.

At the heart of marketing automation is one-to-one; the belief that you can develop a) programs smart enough to specify images, messaging and sentences, and b) that those messages will resonate and become welcomed by customers. Automation has further to go, but recent advances in big data and automation make this tangible.

Behavioral Media

Social media revolves around interactions between two or more people. Behavioral media will generate itself based on algorithmic pattern recognition within someone’s data footprint.

That data will be provided on a permission basis, at least from a legal standpoint (ah yes, those fine legal documents known as Terms of Service). Resulting media will be uniquely customized to each user’s data patterns with calls-to-action based on likely outcomes and paths. That means unique photos, deals, content, and yes, timing of communication,will be served based on individual profile data.

This data driven media will be somewhat or completely unique to the individual’s behavior pattern. Hopefully, with a good strategist behind the effort, stakeholders will find it valuable and non-intrusive.

If brands abuse their permission to data access, they will have retention issues. Brands will lose repeat customers and individual permission to access data.

In essence, brands are allowed into someone’s circle of trust (I’m having a Bobby De Niro day). Violations are reciprocated with the loss of the customer relationship.

I think behavioral media will become something we see more frequently with each passing year, certainly commonplace by 2017. It’s really exciting [and scary] to me.

What do you think?

9 Replies to “How Behavior Will Shape Media”

  1. At the risk of sounding like a total pessimist, I think very little will change, actually. I love the idea of permission-based marketing, but when you think about how many media outlets are funded almost wholly through ad revenue, advertising ain’t going nowhere.

    “Where you goin’? Nowhere!”

    Implicit opt-in will simply be made part of the ToC. If you want to participate in this social network, you have to opt-in to ads. Want to watch this television channel? You have to opt-in.

    Fortunately, I know there’s more than a few of us out there trying to build media outlets free of advertising. The content should be valuable enough on its own that the business can thrive without running ads. If I’m able to do it, others can too.

    The question is, will the larger, existing brands be able to do it? (And do they even care enough to try?)

    1. I think the freebies will ruin the ad-free networks. Why pay for AppNet? I have yet to hear a compelling reason.

      I do agree that permission is the ugly terms of service of the 21st century, but most people feel an extra level of animosity with texts. Until that goes away, I do think it will be more complicated. Thanks for the comment, Brian!

      1. AppNet got funded? Cool!

        Ad-subsidized freebie networks ruining the ad-free networks will only prove the impending idiocracy, as the masses grow ever more lethargic. When you think about it, advertisers pretty much ruin every medium over time.

        Think about print, the US Postal Service, radio, and television. All supported or subsidized by advertising, and all driving people away as a result. Print can’t survive without advertising, the USPS is almost exclusively a mule for junk mail (they call it “standard mail” now), services like Pandora & SiriusXM tout their inexpensive, ad-free subscriptions, and “time-shifting” is another word for “people are sick of commercials and DVR their programs for the express purpose of skipping them.”

        When will companies learn to deliver real, lasting value trumps the vacuous, lowest-common-denominator suggestion of value? It’s ironic – and frustrating – that pretty much everyone hates commercials, yet pretty much everything is paid for with them, ya know?

        This isn’t to say I’m opposed to brands getting in front of audiences as a means to grow market share and lead generation. Just maybe don’t spend a million dollars on a pig in pearls and makeup when giving a regular employee who – gasp – is empowered and engaged and actually believes in the brand a paid day off to speak to the audience.

        Products worth owning market themselves. Everything else is a crutch for cookie cutter mediocrity.

        /drops microphone
        /kicks hole in speaker :P

  2. Behavioral media is exciting and yes…very scary. 2017? I predict much sooner than that for three main reasons: 1) Technology is evolving quicker than we can comprehend 2) People remain nonchalant about their data 3) Ray Kurzweil is now at Google. (google him if you don’t know who he is. oh, the irony). There may be a few perks for “open data” for consumers – but we need to realize that the future is right around the corner…where nothing is private. Where every data point about you has the potential to be accessible to just about anyone.

    Posting your knee surgery or lasik or a root canal on social media may seem like it’s no big deal today. But think about how this data has the potential to shape your ability for future health care coverage (we’ve talked about this) – or affect your credit score, etc. Klout is already using data to give people discounts and freebies. Take this one step further and boom! we’re living in the future. ok, conspiracy theorist rant done. (only it’s no longer really a conspiracy…) :)

    1. You are so dating yourself. Of course, I make 80s song references.

      I agree, it’s not intangible today. Behavioral media is available now, it’s just not widespread. But like you, I think it is coming fast, much faster than any of us think.

  3. Nice job of tying together two megatrends.

    I loved Don Peppers’ work on 1-to-1 marketing. He’s still on top of things at his blog, Strategy Speaks. It’s always a good stop.

  4. To your Bob DeNiro reference, I think it goes deeper. It took two to make the circle meaningful in that scenario and ultimately Gaylord didn’t want to be in the circle. Big data is great, automation is great and behavior targeting is great, as long as we don’t lose sight of the relationship. Great post as always. I will be watching you.

    1. At xPotomac, of course! I agree, people have to want to be a part of the circle. Otherwise it’s just high tech spam.

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