How can you demonstrate to a customer that they can expect to get to their destination on time, with all the benefits it entails, if you work in the transportation industry? How can you keep customers coming back for more if your company runs sweepstakes, contests, or raffles? And, of course, how can you ensure that customers will return if your firm sells food stampedes? There is no single answer, but marketing firms must recognize that retargeting is a marketing approach that must be used wisely and that it must be planned around.

How do you make sure the consumer will come back for more?
Retargeting is the process of connecting a customer with an ad that has a higher response rate than the average ad.

How do you keep the consumer coming back?
The idea is to create a relationship between a consumer and a brand that has a higher response rate than the average. This is accomplished using a variety of marketing strategies, including the use of customized discounts, mailers, salespeople, social media, and other internet-based communications tactics to link the firm to customers with a better response rate.

Consider the following example to illustrate how retargeting can be used. Suppose you enter a store, you’d want to buy a few kitchen supplies and the salesperson informs you right away that they are having a great deal on kitchen items, which they are now unable to provide due to the high dollar rate, the bad economy, and other budget-cutting measures. The salesman then asks whether you know of any other stores that provide better deals. You say no, and he takes you to the next store, where he claims they’re offering 5% more than this one, and all of them are within 100 miles of your home. The idea is that simply because it is over 100 miles away, you will feel compelled to visit that store.
Suppose you decide to go to the store. When you get to the store, you discover they don’t even have the part you need. They’ve moved, and their price has dropped, however, that item is only available in one part of the store. And that’s not all; the retailer doesn’t even have the right quantity of accessories.
Then, because the store doesn’t have the accessory you want and you’re unsatisfied with the amount, you decide to go home and look for another store that does. That’s what retargeting is all about.
When a company’s marketing message is “read” by a new prospect, this is known as retargeting.
A very common example is when a prospective buyer enters a hardware store and sees an advertisement for $5,000 worth of new plumbing fixtures. The prospective buyer is puzzled by the price but decides to go to the next store over, which has the fixtures. But wait, the price is the same.
The message is “retargeted” by the hardware store’s sign.

The first company saw a new customer; the second company saw an old one.

The company that sent the message saw new customers, while the company that received the message saw an older customer.
One may argue that if the message is confusing, the buyer will still buy regardless of the message. That’s certainly possible. Another argument would be that the client isn’t “retargeting” the firm that delivered the message; rather, he’s retargeting what he was looking for before the message was sent.

So, is it retargeting?

  • Is it word-of-mouth marketing?
  • Is it customer affinity?
I’d argue that retargeting is retargeting. There’s a retargeting ad somewhere on the web today, but it isn’t coming from a company with a Retargeting ID number. It’s coming from a random collection of web pages. It’s possible that the company sending the message already has a customer, but it’s uncertain if that customer is looking for the product, if the company sending the message is simply trying to “drop-in” on a display of fixtures, or if the message is simply sending the company’s customers to the company’s site.
Word-of-mouth marketing may be hard to track since, while we may all be sending direct emails or posting things on Facebook to our friends and family, they may be passing it on to others without our knowledge. That was, at least, the standard model until recently.
However, tracking has recently been shifted to the organization or individual who has built a relationship with the customer. So, a message sent to a customer’s friend, or a customer who just bought from the company and may buy from the firm in the future, would be called word-of-mouth marketing.
Customer Affinity is related to customer word-of-mouth marketing in that it includes a larger group of customers rather than just a friend or former customer. A “warm letter” or similar communication is used to develop affinity. The key is that when the letter or message arrives, it isn’t just for no reason. This can be performed by having a company employee who had a positive experience with the customer speak in front of a small group of potential clients, or by having the employee have the customer speak in front of a small group of potential clients.
Is retargeting based on a customer’s social network a smart way to find new customers? That’s a possibility. I know of retargeting strategies that involved sending a Facebook update to a customer’s friends or newsfeed updates to customers who had just made purchased the brand.
The key thing to remember is that these techniques aren’t used at random. They are targeted to those that the company thinks may be interested. Once the company understands who they’re trying to reach, they may provide information that’s relevant and interesting to them to make a sale.
Retargeting has the disadvantage that the customer is already on Facebook. You’d be wasting your time if you tried to contact someone with a small network, such as a mom who runs a small business. That said, what about building client affinity by creating a “friend” of the targeted customer?
It’s possible, but it’s not something I’ve tried. The key is to be able to create content that retarget customers are interested in and willing to share. This content should include relevant information to spark the attention of the retargeted consumer. The more involved they are, the more interested they will be in what you’re selling.
Using retargeting to provide more value to your customers and maintain the relationship is certainly possible. If you’ve done your job right, they’ll even remember who you are!