Thursday, January 31, 2008

behavioral targeting: coordinate online and offline...

many of you know from reading my blog that i was just on a family vacation down in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. (PV, and by the way, i'm not attempting to rub this in but we had a great time.)

during the fun and sun i was lucky to be able to meet up with an old friend from high school - Andy. he and his family are doing really well down there, so well in fact, that he has decided to start a brand new business in Nuevo Vallarta, (which is a hot new development area 15 minutes north of PV.) - a water taxi/fishing charter/tour business...

over a starbucks we talked about all the opportunity that exists for this exciting new venture and that the key to success will be his ability to put tourist bums in seats on his boat on a consistent basis. the discussion progressed to tourist behaviors and how he should look to analyze and correctly target them...

now in the "offline" world, behavioral targeting means knowing things like foot traffic, preferred activities and shopping patterns once these folks step off of cruise ships. for example, Andy went to interview some customers of a rival water taxi service that morning. we talked about the fact that cruise ship tourists are just as likely to check out the destination port prior to arriving as guys like me who fly down for 2 weeks is important...so there exists the need to coordinate his marketing efforts online as well. we also talked by the way about the fact that his being Canadian may also play a key part for some tourists on the trust front. cultural differences also affect behavior, and as a good friend of mine Lori Colborne of LSL Marketing always says, "we like to do business with people we know, like and trust."

behavioral targeting "online" means for example that Andy will want to ensure his company makes as many lists like this as he can - tripadvisor.com. general targeting online also means consistently updating his soon to be developed web presence and cool content of his boat, tours and all that fun to inspire those customers who haven't left home yet.

by the way, i could get much more technical here on the subject of "behavioral targeting" regarding "amazon" type technology that provides examples of other products that you are encouraged to purchase which are based on the behavioral patterns of others who purchased the same book as you. this technology continues to be key due to the massive online media convergence that's happening but for now let's keep things at a higher level.

so when thinking of your business, consider a coordinated effort including strong positioning of not only his street corner presence and army of sales people but supporting that with better understanding the online habits of your preferred customer too.

knowing not only the habits of tourists on the ground but also those habits online will help Andy's new company better position itself to be the water excursion company of choice. in his case, this is a major advantage because for the most part the habits of his competiton include primarily beach vendors and street corner shacks to drive business...pretty two dimensional thinking - giving Andy a key early step up, at least for now.

4 comments:

Sleeping in Seattle said...

Sage advice Walter, and I'll look forward to hearing more about Andy's venture as he progresses along. Perhaps you can keep us up to date on how he's using Web 2.0 effectively?

waltman said...

Thanks very much for commenting...in fact, part of the conversation Andy and I had was related to first setting up a blog when his has time and can contribute regularly...expanding on his activities and strategy will no doubt happen from there...

Andy said...

Walter, I can see that we have inspired each other in our talk down here in Puerto Vallarta. Since talking, I have started explore some of your web 2.0ideas.
Initially our marketing efforts will focus on street level offerings and word-of-mouth at local resorts, and as I am learning since our conversation, we must follow-up very quickly with on-line, interactive media. I envision our taxi service and on-water adventure company transcending any current offerings down here. I can see how by acheiving this vision, immediate feedback on the internet is vital to not only create credibility, but also convey a story (as Seth Godin says) that will spread to our targeted market (baby-boomers) and effectively "snowball" interest and build a worldwide presense.
Last week I had no clue what Web 2.0 was, now as I stumble through the fog of techno-terminology, my simple understanding is that it is a great means to generate word of mouth on the internet.
I look forward to keeping you updated.

Andrew Shaw said...

Brand new to the term Web 2.0, Walter has given me new reason to develop a website that allows for customer feedback and insight. We will start marketing using the traditional and very effective method of street level selling. From there, word of mouth. As I am beginning to see, word of mouth on a website can have a huge effect on a business such as mine, especially when you have provided a highly unique and useful service such as the one we will provide. I will keep you updated on our successes and failures.