Who Really Controls Customer Behaviour

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					Who Really Controls Customer Behaviour?
Many marketing advocates focus their advertising on changing customer
beliefs and attitudes. However, as once quoted by Harvard Business School
professor John Quelch, advertising "should be geared to changing and
reinforcing customer actions rather than customer attitude."
The question is - does this adage hold true in the age of social media?
With conversion analytics providing in-depth understanding of online
behaviour, a single pay-per-click advertisement can encourage site
visitors to engage in the exact behavior the Internet Marketer wants them
to. The same holds true with other forms of media, albeit, the timeline
to delivering the desired response is somewhat longer.
Claims by consumers that media is disruptive, irrelevant and merely
serves to clutter a channel or information or entertainment is a barrier
to delivering a captive audience. Add social media to the mix, and the
one time push advertising strategy is changing to a pull model. Online
content creators are finding it increasingly difficult to command and
control exact behaviors.
Social media requires an deeper understanding of customer behavior. This
is one of the key drivers behind one of the hottest trends in Web
advertising - behavioral targeting. Behavioral targeting refers to
delivering ads to individuals based on their previous surfing behavior.
User site activity data is analysed to gain a better understanding as to
what individual visitors are interested in and responding to. The
information gained is used to create more engaging content around their
areas of interest. UserID cookies can be used to serve tightly targeted
content, moving the website media from a target model of 1:M to one or
However, if we look back at our premise that advertising can change
behaviors, the reality is that this goal is extremely difficult to
achieve. At best, marketers can influence behaviors with forms of social
media like communities, in an effort to tap into peer pressure tactics,
but the power is moving further and further away from the advertiser, and
closer and closer to the consumer.
Gail La Grouw is consulting director of Coded-Vision Consulting,
architects of optimal corporate and marketing performance management. She
specialises in business intelligence and business performance technology
and is author of The Logical Organization: A Strategic Guide To Driving
Corporate Performance Using Business Intelligence.