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Retargeting Needs to Be Done Right

The house I'm buying has a squirrel problem.

Specifically, a few have decided to call the attic home. I've been searching the web for solutions. One product -- the Guardian -- emits a noise that repels squirrels. I found it interesting and would perhaps return to the site as the date of my house closing nears.

But here's the thing. Since I visited the site, I can't get away from it. No matter where I visit on the web, an ad appears for the Guardian -- that mocking little squirrel follows me around and reminds me of my impending pest problem.

The practice is called "behavioral retargeting," and most people are now starting to take notice of it. It's one of the hottest things in digital marketing. Highly effective to be sure, but it's giving people the creeps.

I'm in marketing. I get it. People who have shown an interest are the most likely to ultimately buy (or donate). But some subtlety should be the order of the day. Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should.

In a few months, the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association will be presenting a monthly meeting on behavioral retargeting. Details aren't up yet, but watch for them. As a marketer (and a consumer), I want to know more.