Thursday, July 3, 2008

Targeted Social Marketing

This article's title really intrigued me: Trust-Based Targeting.

Hmmm. Now, as a direct marketing specialist, I'm an expert in targeting. I'm aware of the wide array of data that is available to target both customers and prospects, B2B and B2C. So, what the heck does Trust-Based Targeting refer to? Clearly, I had to read more!

It's an intriguing concept, and one that might actually help with the eventual measurement and better targeting of social media. The article outlines mEgo's approach that allows consumers to choose the kinds of messaging and targeting behaviors that fit their own needs and interests, all in the area of social marketing.

The premise behind mEgo's offering is that their users self-create some pretty elaborate and detailed profiles. Then, users decide which parts of their profiles can be shared to advertisers. Finally, users are paid (I believe through donations to their chosen charity) when advertisers use their data for targeting.
"Going back to how mEgo intends to roll out our advertising strategy: We will provide a transparent description of how users’ data is used and, most importantly, allow users to filter which information is publicly available and used for targeting. MEgo members will have complete control of what portions of their profile they’ll permit us to use to target ads. For example, a mEgo user interested in music may choose to view only ads for indie bands generated from a list of their favorite musicians. As an extra step in transparency, we also literally show users the keywords our platform generates for serving the ads they see."
The article contained an excellent case study for an Adidas social media campaign. It illustrated the viral nature of m'Ego's offering and is probably the best illustration of this new targeting concept.

I can't wait to see how (if) other marketers adopt this model. I salivate over the rich data that I may be analyzing in the near future!

But I think that the key things to remember here are trust and transparency--two essentials to this new offering.
"The lesson learned: It is essential that brands earn and keep consumer’s trust in order to be able to effectively market to them. Without trust, the greatest marketing system in the world can’t work. Set the expectation of complete transparency between marketer and consumer, and you convert your consumer from being fearful into being an advocate."


Mark Lindsey said...

Hi Suzanne,

I'm glad Phil's write-up on mEgo caught your interest. The platform indeed provides a unique approach to behavioral targeting that eliminates a "corporate" feel through interactive features and full customization.

Feel free to send my way any questions you may have with regard to mEgo, and thanks so much for your feedback!


Mark Lindsey

Suzanne Obermire said...

Interesting aspect about the elimination of a corporate feel. Great point!

Thanks for the comment.

Paul said...

It's an interesting idea, but I wonder if those willing to share so much data aren't the least desirable audience to target. Thinking psychographically, my deep suspicion is that they are -- I certainly wouldn't do this.

Also, this kind of permission-based marketing only works to a point. Just because someone subscribes to a service like this and gives implicit permission to be marketed to within the areas of interest they identify doesn't mean you can send them hundreds of marketing messages a month. Use of the database would have to be strictly controlled and not overused, or they'll soon be opting out of everything.

Even though it seems like "free money" on the surface, I'd be very skeptical about the value I'd get as a marketer using this product. What unmet or underserved need is it addressing?

Suzanne Obermire said...

Your words of caution are right-on. I totally agree with you. I think the answer is that the data and the concept must be tested (yes, that's every direct marketer's pat answer). I like the concept, though!