Heh, I love data. I love playing with it, looking for trends, talking about its inherent value, what organisations could or should be doing with it. Without a doubt it has given marketing folk the ability to ‘target’ people with offers, news and a whole plethora of information.

follow me around the web like a unwelcome drunk at a bus station

I am not just talking about “name@domain.com” and that they came to “Show A” on the “Day / Month / Year” and Paid for an “Student” in “Price A” in “Stalls”, using promo code “Nofee”  and booked at “event day minus three weeks, two days, four hours and five seconds”, on the “web”, “through web interface 2” on a “tablet”, paying by Amex…………..now just in there there is load of data to allow people to target that consumer.

The last four years has seen the hidden data revolution. Pixels…..cookies……tags…….it just doesn’t stop.

Now this is progress no doubt and allows people to be re-targeted. It’s just I find it so damn annoying.

Take below, my local paper’s homepage. Over 1/3 of real estate taken up by a company whose homepage I looked at briefly to find a phone number and one who I was browsing their products…… over 4 months ago. They follow me around the web like a unwelcome drunk at a bus station……….of course I am not referring to the companies or their products but their ads.



These ads follow me everywhere


Being due to spend quite a lot of time in Scotland in the next few months, I have been searching routes, by plane, by multiple airlines, from and to multiple airports, connect trains and of course hotels. I have now booked my chose routes and dates, but does that stop me from endless ads to say “still want to book this hotel in Aberdeen?” / “complete your booking for flight to Inverness”. The very knowledgeable Ed Auden from VE Interactive gave an interesting presentation recently at a Toptix user day when he talked of the issues with this re-targeting (even though his company offers it as a core product) – simply because site A does not know that you were looking at routes, or more importantly that itinerary A and B were mutually exclusive or were actually booked on site C!

still want to book this hotel in Aberdeen?

Ok, Ok……I get it, the Internet is not that clever, and a cookie does not tell the whole story and track multi-site search and conversion, but why, why oh why does INTUIT – makers of quick books target me for a “free trial” of quick books, a product I subscribe to and access their system on my computer on on a daily basis. Surely my logging in must alert their re-targeting that I have already ‘converted’? Or is the thinking that are the costs per page impression so low what does it matter if some of our existing customers get served the advert?

I already pay you money, I don't need a trial!

I already pay you money, I don’t need a trial!

In ‘old fashioned’ marketing we would never dream of adding “exclude people who have already bought this production” to a query to offer discounted tickets would we? Would we also target someone consistently that registered for a newsletter years ago, had never bought a ticket, opened an email we’d sent or logged into the site?

These new tools are just different ways of managing our data and our relationship with customers, it seems that so many have rushed to embrace them, they have forgotten some of the basics that we all did (a long time ago) in marketing 101.