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Four Steps to Behavioral Target Marketing

Behavioral targeting -- identifying the potential buyers of a new product or service based upon their past behavior -- is an axiom of marketing. However, it can be difficult to target consumers based on their behavior, according to a study by Forrester Research.

Tracking online behavior gives interactive marketers and technology product marketers a powerful tool for identifying potential buyers and predicting the growth of a market. Forrester believes that there are four essential steps to target consumers, and implement marketing campaigns based on consumer behavior:

Identify the behaviors that best mirror your new product or service -- The best predictor of adoption is past behavior. If a consumer is doing something similar to the new thing, then they will understand the value of the new thing and potentially buy it. For example, the best predictor of the adoption of music on mobile phones is the adoption of music on PCs. Product marketers must identify these behavioral proxies to understand their potential market.

Begin by looking at who has the enabling technology -- If a consumer doesn't own the enabling technology -- such as broadband, home network, HDTV, digital camera, or a mobile data service -- then they can't use your new product or service. A look at technology ownership provides the right starting point for understanding a market. To help predict how a market will grow, Forrester has forecast the future adoption of 14 key technologies.

Target potential buyers based on their previous behavior -- The key to behavioral targeting is finding the right activities. But you don't need to guess. You can mine a rich database like Forrester's North American Benchmark Study to see which activities correlate best with the behavior you are looking for. For example, consumers who are likely adopters of an online consumer directed health plan are already researching diseases, doctors, and drugs online.

Narrow the focus to early adopters based on the intensity of their behavior -- To find the buyers most likely to take a risk on a new product or service, look for enthusiasts or power users. The best proxy for power users is often the frequency or intensity of their behavior. For example, if someone is downloading music for a fee every week, then they are probably a good target for a new music streaming service.

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