Direct Line Blog

This guy is not a fan of DM

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PCMag.com columnist John Dvorak is mad as... something... and not going to take it anymore when it comes to behavioral targeting.

His column posted today gets right to his point before you even begin reading the copy: "Stop Targeted Ads" its the headline.

The first few paragraphs outline behavioral targeting and posit a potential application to television. Citing "supposedly secret reports," Dvorak envisions a future where each click of the television remote helps serve targeted ads. A couple comments about "often hilarious… misfires" culminate in the lamentation that "The whole process is mostly pointless now." And, of course, the final kicker:

This I seriously do not need. It's time to take a break and rethink all of the advertising models out there. It's time to find something less intrusive.

If you're a direct marketer, you might be mad at this dismissing of your industry. I, though, am not. I think it's important to look at consumers along a spectrum. Some are willing to give up tons of personal information, some are willing to give up none, and there are many in between. Why do I sometimes opt out of e-mail lists or wave off loyalty program pitches, but opt in and sign up for others? Honestly, it depends on a number of factors: The marketer involved, how often I shop with it, what the benefits are and what kind of mood I'm in that day.

Most marketers I talk to understand this concept. With so many channels and such robust targeting options, there's a lot of wiggle room for consumers to opt in. Someone may be happy to follow a brand on Twitter, but might not want to join its e-mail list. Or, they may put direct mail right into the recycling bin on their way to sign up for the loyalty program.

There's going to be guys like Dvorak out there who don't want to turn over anything about themselves. Maybe he's just annoyed because he got served a silly AdWords ad and just needs to blow off some steam. But there will always be ways to reach most consumers with the most relevant messages possible.

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