Into the Pool #2: Retargeting

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You know how rock stars have this reputation for throwing stuff from the hotel window into the pool? Hell, Keith Moon even parked his Rolls Royce in the deep end once. In tribute, we’ll be throwing all the crap, bullshit acronyms, empty fads and snake oil of marketing straight into the Rockstar CMO swimming pool.

This month, Ian Truscott is heaving retargeting – and all those annoying (and slightly creepy) digital ads – over the balcony. Don’t agree? Let us know why.


This is going to be fun...

You think I had some fun throwing agile marketing into the pool last month? That lightweight piece of junk practically fell out of my hands. This, my friends, is the full-on Keith Moon, the Rolls-Royce-in-the-pool moment of all that is mental about this industry. This month’s candidate is remarketing or retargeting. Yep, there's going to be a splash.

I’m not alone; a true rock star is already unscrewing the damn thing from the walls as I busy myself, making sure the patio furniture on the balcony doesn’t go in with it. Step forward Ted Rubin. As he said in his rather splendid Q&A:

"Retargeting does more harm than good. Ask a room full of marketers how many like to be retargeted and no hands go up. Then ask how many retarget their customers and every hand goes up. See a disconnect there? Marketers need to put their consumer hats on more often."

YES! Who of you is behind this? Who of you loves a bit of retargeting when you’re the giver, but hate being the receiver? I believe there’s a word for you people. (I don’t know it, as my Nan, the wise cockney she was, taught me to be civil.)

“Is the sub-1% uplift really worth pissing off 99% of your audience?”
— Ian Truscott

Oh yes, it’s cheap – but so is Thunderbird wine. That does not make it good. Is the sub-1% uplift really worth pissing off 99% of your audience? Are you not committing Chinese water torture on your brand as your minor annoyance drip, drip, drips itself onto the eroding trust and credibility you have in this big ol’ digital disrupted world?

I have a regular Friday Facebook experience of being recommended the film that my family just streamed, the bloody car hire company that offered me 25% after I just paid in advance, or this damn online retailer that KNOWS I put stuff in my basket and will click ‘order’ when I’m going to be in the country to receive the package. No, I HAVE NOT ABANDONDED MY ITEMS.

Like Ted says, marketers need to put themselves in the shoes of the 99%, not the 1%. And yeah, yeah, maybe it’s 2%, or 5%, or even 10% (is that possible?), but unless it’s over 50% you are making a damn fool of yourself to more people than you are helping.

I suspect the data doesn’t support this point of view. But how do you measure an eye-roll? How do you measure the itchy, scratchy annoyance that isn’t so bad that they won’t buy from you, but bad enough that they hate you a little? Or the murmuring of someone in love with a brand who says, “Oh, please don’t, not you as well?” The data says, “YAY!” But the data also says the Thunderbird wine got you happy.

So, heave ho! With Ted giving me a hand, I will gladly take the heavy end, and this sucker is going in.

Are you diving in to save it? Or can you help and move that credenza? This is bigger than it looks… Let us know.


Ian Truscott is an accomplished B2B content marketer, having held marketing leadership roles within global software vendors in both the US and Europe, before growing a content marketing practice within an international agency, developing a methodology that enabled clients such as Nasdaq, General Motors and American Express to realise the value of content marketing. Ian is applying this same passion for content as head of marketing for censhare AG.

Go backstage with Ian here, or read more of his articles


Get more of the good stuff from Project: Funk Da World

Featuring Ted Rubin, Robert Rose, Virgil Abloh, Tristan Walker, plus all the regular Rockstar antics you’ve come to expect. Read more..

Ian Truscott

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